WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
FEBRUARY 4, 2022
TOPIC: LIVE TO PLEASE THE LORD
BY T. O. BANSO
“Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God” (1 Thessalonians 4:1 New King Jams Version).
The apostle Paul says that in the last days perilous times will come (2 Timothy 3:1). The phrase “perilous times” means dangerous, difficult, troublous, or stressful times. According to the Amplified Bible, “perilous times will come” means times of great stress and trouble, difficult days that will be hard to bear will come. And one of the features will be that men will be lovers of themselves (verse 2). The Amplified Bible explains “lovers of themselves” as narcissistic, self-focused.
We are already in perilous times and many people are lovers of themselves. They are so selfish that they can do anything, including killing other people just to please themselves. We see a lot of this among unbelievers but it’s of concern when Christians live only to please themselves. Christians must not imbibe the spirit of the world and become self-focused rather than Christ-focused and others-centred.
Most problems in relationships today, including marriage, is because people are self-focused or selfish. Their goal in relationships is to please themselves, not others. Whereas the husband or wife should seek to please his or her spouse, what characterizes many homes is that each person lives to please himself or herself.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7:33 that the married cares about the things of the world — how he may please his wife. This is also true of the wife (verse 34b). Love is troubling or inconveniencing yourself to please the other person or others. Being self-focused destroys relationships, including marriage.
Nowhere in the Bible does God ask His children to be self-centred. It is usually to focus on others, to be good to them. It is to love your neighbour as yourself (Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 5:43; 19:19; 22:39; Mark 12:31; Romans 13:9; Galatians5:14; Jamess 2:8). And when everybody does this, when everybody is unselfish, everybody’s interest is taken care of. Nobody is disadvantaged.
Paul says, “We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification. For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, ‘The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me’” (Romans 15:1-3 New King James Version).
A Christian should not be self-centred. A minister of the Gospel should not be self-focused. A minister who is self-focused is only doing a self-seeking or self-serving ministry. He is not serving the Lord but himself. A minister should serve the people and not use the people. Paul says he pleases all men in all things, not seeking his own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved (1 Corinthians 10:33). He is not talking of being a people-pleaser or compromiser but not being self-centred. This is clear because, in Galatians 1:10, he says, “For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ” (New King James Version).
As a child of God, don’t live to please yourself. Live to please God and, then, you’ll know how to please others. God doesn’t want you to be self-focused. Jesus lived to please God and we should follow His example. Jesus says, “And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him” (John 8:29 New King James Version). Take note of the phrase “I always do those things that please Him.”
He also says, “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me” (John 5:30 New King James Version). Jesus says further that He has come down from heaven, not to do His own will, but the will of Him who sent Him (John 6:38). Even in the Garden of Gethsemane, shortly before His arrest, Jesus remained committed to doing the will of His Father, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke 22:42 New King James Version). His food was to do the will of Him who sent Him and finish His work (John 4:34).
Jesus did not live to please Himself but His Father. He says in John 8:50, “And I do not seek My own glory; there is One who seeks and judges” (New King James Version). He is referring to God. Be focused on God as Jesus was. Seek to please Him as Jesus did. “For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak” (John 12:49 New King James Version).
Live to please the Lord. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7:32-33, “But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord — how he may please the Lord. But he who is married cares about the things of the world — how he may please his wife” (New King James Version). Take note of the phrase “how he may please the Lord.”
No married person should misinterpret this scripture to mean that he or she is excused from pleasing the Lord but his or her spouse. That passage deals with the advantage of being single; it doesn’t free married people from pleasing the Lord. Paul says being unmarried frees one from the responsibility of caring for a spouse, which could hinder one from focusing well on pleasing the Lord. But whether you’re married or single, seek to please the Lord. Hear what Paul says earlier in 1 Corinthians 7:29: “But this I say, brethren, the time is short, so that from now on even those who have wives should be as though they had none” (New King James Version). You can’t use marriage as an excuse not to please the Lord. Indeed, your marriage should please Him.
As a child of God, walk to please Him. Don’t copy unbelievers who displease Him. “No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier” (2 Timothy 2:4 New King James Version). In1 Thessalonians 2:15b, Paul talks about the Jews who put to death the Lord Jesus and the prophets, persecuted the apostles, did not please God, and were against all men.
There is a way to live to please or displease the Lord. Paul says to the Thessalonians, “Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God” (1 Thessalonians 4:1 New King James Version). He says they were already walking to please the Lord and encouraged them to do even more. “As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more” (New International Version).
Walk to please the Lord means live to please Him. How were the Thessalonians to walk to please the Lord? Paul reminds them of the commandments they were given through the Lord Jesus (verse 2). Commandments! Yes, Christians are not under the law but we have commandments to keep.
Paul elaborates on this: “For you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 4:2-8 New King James Version).
The summary of this passage is that you should live a life of sanctification or holiness. This is God’s will for you. You cannot please God without living a sanctified or holy life. God’s will for you is to be holy, for He is holy (1 Peter 1:16). Those who live in sin cannot please Him.
Romans 8:5-8 says, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (New King James Version).
Galatians 5:19-21 gives us a list of the works of the flesh. Ephesians 5:3-6, Colossians 3:5-9, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, and Revelation 22:15 also talk about the sins the children of God must run from as those who practise such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Love is another commandment of God. Jesus says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:34 New King James Version). Love is the greatest commandment – loving God and loving fellow human beings (Matthew 22:34-40; Mark 12:28-31; Luke 10:25-28)
Paul mentions brotherly love to the Thessalonians after talking about sanctification. “But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another” (1 Thessalonians 4:9 New King James Version). Love does no harm to a neighbour; therefore, love is the fulfilment of the law (Romans 13:10). Love.
Moreover, Paul emphasizes living an orderly life. He tells the Thessalonians to aspire to lead a quiet life, mind their business, work with their hands, as they have been commanded. He adds that they should walk properly toward those who are outside (unbelievers) so that they may lack nothing (they will not need to depend on others to meet their financial needs) (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12).
The Bible tells us further that it’s important to live by faith to please the Lord. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6 New King James Version). Live a life of faith. The just shall live by faith (Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38). He shall by his faith (Habakkuk 2:4). And faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17).
Live to please the Lord. Live a life of purity, love, and faith. Live orderly life. In addition, cultivate a lifestyle of praising God. David says, “I will praise the name of God with a song, And will magnify Him with thanksgiving. This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bull, which has horns and hooves” (Psalm 69:30-31 New King James Version). When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies be at peace with him (Proverbs 16:7). Live to please the Lord.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I repent of the ways I have not lived to please You and I receive forgiveness through Your Son, Jesus Christ. Holy Spirit, help me to live a life of purity, love, and faith. Also, help me to live an orderly life. While I live, I will praise the Lord; I will sing praises to Him. Holy Spirit, help all those whose lives are currently displeasing to the Lord to repent, surrender their lives to Jesus, and live to please Him.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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