Posts Tagged ‘Romans 14:17-18’

Lifestyle Issues

March 11th, 2015

“We urge you to live in a way that pleases God.” 1 Thessalonians 4:1 NLT.

Trying to please everyone is as futile as trying to never offend anyone.

My thoughts and comments today are about “lifestyle issues.”

EDL pix walking with God

If you try to please everyone, you will ultimately please no one and make yourself miserable in the process. Trying to please everyone is as futile as trying to never offend anyone. Neither is practical or achievable. Life is simpler when you finally decide who you are going to please. And the worst possible alternative is to live to please no one but yourself. The Bible warns, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you should. Instead be modest in your thinking.” Romans 12:3 TEV.

Many things pressure you to conform to others’ demands and expectations. Resist the temptation of doing so. The Apostle Paul offers a practical self-inventory, “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10 NIV. Obviously, Paul recognized a previous time when he was “still trying to please men,” and the inconsistency that resulted.

The proper conclusion is this: when you can serve both God and man, do so. When you cannot, serve and please God above all others. “Our aim is to please Him always . . for we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done.” 2 Corinthians 5:9-10 NLT. Never forget the One to whom you owe first allegiance.

The surrounding culture may press you to conform your attitudes, values, and conduct in less than exemplary ways; live as unto the Lord. See Romans 12:1-2 NIV. Current circumstances might seem to impose an urgency of attention they may not warrant; live above your present circumstance. An unhealthy family history may have enslaved you in habitual behaviors, struggling to please people who simply refuse to be pleased; live free of unjust expectations. Some have had the unfortunate experience of working for a boss you could not please, a relative from whom you never gained their approval, or a parent or spouse who never affirms you. That is sad, but not uncommon. Such experiences present lifestyle issues.

Ultimately, the only hope of pleasing others is to confidently know that you have first pleased God. Here is the Bible’s definitive guideline: “Finally, we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you. You are doing this already, and we encourage you to do so more and more.” Read 1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:1 NLT. After struggling unsuccessfully to please others, maybe your question would be, “How then can I please God?” Pleasing people is complicated; pleasing God is not. “Do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Hebrews 13:16 NIV. See Romans 14:17-18 NIV.

The task is not yours alone; God gives you all that is required; you supply obedience. “May God equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ.” Hebrews 13:21 NIV. Paul’s answer was this, “. . we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way . .” Colossians 1:9-10 NIV. Paul then elaborates on what pleases God, “. . bearing fruit, growing in knowledge, strengthened with power, having endurance and patience, joyfully giving thanks, brought into the Kingdom, and having redemption and the forgiveness of sins.” Read Colossians 1:11-14 NIV.

I love the simplicity with which the Bible described ancient Enoch, a man that walked with God, “Enoch had this testimony, that he pleased God.” Read Hebrews 11:5-6 (See Genesis 5:21-24).

Today, my prayer for you is that at life’s end, His testimony and yours will be that you pleased God.

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Being Peace-full

February 17th, 2014

“God blesses those who work for peace.” Matthew 5:9 NKJV.

Where God and His Word are lacking, peace will be absent.

My thoughts and comments today are about “being peace-full.”

My dear friend, Campbell, introduced me to the eloquent, British word, “dispeace,” describing “an unsettling absence of peace.” One who has known peace will not be content to live again without it. God is the answer for dispeace of heart and dissension with others. “For the kingdom of God is . .  righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.” Romans 14:17-18 NIV.

Jesus established the practical qualities of an exemplary life, “Being real, compassionate, submissive, satisfied, merciful, and authentic.” (Matthew 5:1-12). To those, Jesus adds, (7) “Being peace-full.” To those who work for peace, a family resemblance is seen. “God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.” Matthew 5:9 NLT. Like other traits of spiritual maturity, being peace-full starts in your heart with your right relationship with God, then expressed in your conduct and conversation. “Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.” James 3:17-18 NIV.

What most determines your peace is not what others do but what you have done, or will not do, to restore what is broken. The tools of making peace are prayer, confession, humility, forgiveness, obedience, and “giving preference to one another.” Romans 12:9-11 NKJV. Peacemaking is aptly described as work because it requires effort and personal sacrifice, but its blessings are immeasurable, “for they will be called the children of God.”

Hurting people hurt others. The person who desires peace initiates efforts toward peace, yet such efforts are not always well received. You cannot impose peace against another’s will. Neither you nor God can heal a person’s brokenness without their willingness. “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:17-18 NIV. Real peace cannot be instituted unilaterally. Do what you can, “as far as it depends on you.” Let God do what you cannot, and what others will not.

Fear of rejection is a major inhibitor to peace. Jesus said, “When you go into a household, greet it. If the household is worthy, let your peace come upon it. But if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. Whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet.” Matthew 10:12-14 NKJV. From Jesus’ words, I draw three helpful conclusions. (1) Come with God’s peace in your heart. (2) You came with peace; leave with nothing less. (3) Don’t carry away any residue of hurt. As you go, “Let your peace return to you . . shake off the dust.” See Luke 10:5-6 NLT. Read Romans 14:22 NIV/2 Corinthians 13:10-11 NLT.

Where God or His Word are lacking, peace will be absent. Paul’s advice is practical, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts . . Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly . . Whatever you do, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Colossians 3:12-18 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that your peace with God will bring you the peace of God.

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