BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
“So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him” (2 Corinthians 5:9 New Living Translation).
There are some fundamental decisions that one should make in life. These decisions should be made even before any situation would arise to put the decisions to test. One of such decisions is one’s goal in life. What is your goal in life? In the context of this message, consider this question from the angle of whom you want to please in life. Is your goal in life to please God or to please men?
Whether it is spoken or not, people live their lives to please either God or men. Every child of God must decide, beforehand, to please God in all situations. Children of God who have already made such a decision will not have any problem making choices that would please God or men when the situation arises later. They made their decision already in the past.
I was talking to a businesswoman some years ago, and she was telling me about some challenges she had faced in her line of business. Some contractors who came to ask her to supply some items would want her to inflate the prices and falsify figures. Whenever they came with their fraudulent business proposals, which would fetch her and these customers more money, they would want her to consider their proposals and make a decision. She told me that she always made them realize that there was nothing to consider. She had made a decision long ago when she started the business never to engage in such fraudulent practices. These customers came late!
She was guided by the decision to please her God and not please every customer with a sinful proposal or request. God has continued to bless her and her business is prospering. Who says honesty doesn’t pay? Maybe such people want more than what honesty pays! That’s greed.
Decide whom you will live to please
Before you go any further in your life, decide whom you will live to please. It will make life very easy for you. Jesus commands us to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; other things shall be added to us (Matthew 6:33). Make pleasing God your goal in life and it will make it easier for you to make other decisions in life.
If you decide to make pleasing God in all you do or say your goal in life, you would have made one of the best decisions. It will simplify life for you and make you live an impactful and fulfilled life. Paul the apostle says, “So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him” (2 Corinthians 5:9 New Living Translation). In whatever situation you find yourself, whether it is convenient for you or not, make pleasing God your goal. Leave the rest to God; He will handle the consequences of this righteous decision.
I think it is wiser and easier to please God than human beings. We have only one God, and nobody competes with Him. He knows what He wants from you. But we have many human beings with competing and contending expectations from you. Sometimes, they don’t even know what they want. Sometimes they are confused and keep changing.
The truth is you can’t please human beings. It is a futile effort. As you’re trying to please one person, you’re displeasing others. The person you compromised to please today may even turn against you tomorrow after he has gotten what he wanted. You will hate yourself for compromising and allowing yourself to be used; you will feel guilty for displeasing God to please a human being. Make pleasing God your goal in life, not pleasing men. This is one way to simplify life for yourself.
Jesus tells us the futility of trying to please human beings. He says, “For John the Baptist didn’t drink wine and he often fasted, and you say, ‘He’s demon possessed.’ And I, the Son of Man, feast and drink, and you say, ‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of the worst sort of sinners!’ But wisdom is shown to be right by what results from it” (Matthew 11:18-19 New Living Translation). Did you see that?
Don’t think you can succeed in pleasing human beings so that you can enjoy their goodwill or favour. Making this your goal will only lead to frustration. It will never get you anywhere. Those who do that don’t do the right things they know they should do because they are seeking people’s acceptance. Paul 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” (Galatians 1:10 New King James Version).
Paul says again in 1 Thessalonians 2:4, “But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts” (New King James Version). This scripture is not applicable to the gospel minister alone; it is applicable to every child of God. Those whose goal in life is to please men cannot obey God because what He will ask them to do are, most times, contrary to what men want. Since they want to be in the good books of human beings, they’ll disobey God. They are like those Jesus said in John 12:43 loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. Don’t be a men-pleaser; be a God-pleaser (Ephesians 6:6).
Make it your goal in life to please God, not human beings. That doesn’t mean you deliberately go out to displease human beings. It means that your overriding desire and moving force is to do what pleases God. What you do for human beings is determined by what pleases God.
Jesus says in John 8:29, “And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him” (New King James Version). If we also make this our goal and pursue it, we can be confident of His presence. But when we abandon Him and do what pleases men, we go far away from Him even when He is committed to never leaving us or forsaking us (Hebrews 13:5).
In Acts 5:29, Peter and the other apostles answered the High Priest that they would rather obey God than men. In other words, they would not obey the Sanhedrin’s command not to teach again in the name of Jesus. Eventually, the trial ended and the apostles were beaten and commanded again not to speak in the name of Jesus. Did they regret that they were beaten? No. They left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for the name of Jesus (verses 40-41). They never stopped preaching or teaching in the name of Jesus because they would rather please God than men.
Live in a way that pleases God
As a child of God, you should live in a way that pleases God (1Thessalonians 4:1). Those who are in the flesh cannot please God (Romans 8:8). Avoid the works of the flesh which are adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like. Those who practise such things will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21).
Make pleasing God your goal in life. Proverbs 16:7 says when a man’s ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies be at peace with him. The Christian is a soldier (2 Timothy 2:3). He should please the person who has enlisted him into the army. “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). Walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10).
What pleases God
1. Faith. Hebrews 11:6 says without faith it is impossible to please God. Therefore, live a life of faith if you want to please God. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (verse 1). Faith is believing that God will do what He says He will do. Faith is believing the Word of God and acting upon it. By faith, the elders obtained a good testimony or report (verse 2).
The first way to demonstrate your faith in God is to believe in His son, Jesus Christ. In other words, give your life to Jesus. Accept Him as your Lord and Saviour. Surrender your life to Him. Except you are born again, you cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3:3). If you’ll like to give your life to Jesus, see the last portion of this message, TAKE ACTION.
2. Obeying God’s command. “Be careful to obey all my commands so that all will go well with you and your children, because you will be doing what pleases the LORD your God” (Deuteronomy 12:28 New Living Translation). Obedience pleases God. “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams” (1 Samuel 15:22 New King James Version).
God desires that you do His will rather than offer sacrifices (Psalm 40:6). Colossians 3:20 tells children to obey their parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord. Similarly, Ephesians 6:1 says children should obey their parents in the Lord, for this is right.
What is the result of obedience? Deuteronomy 4:40 says, “If you obey all the laws and commands that I will give you today, all will be well with you and your children. Then you will enjoy a long life in the land the LORD your God is giving you for all time” (New Living Translation).
3. Magnifying God with thanksgiving. “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). Psalm 50:14 says to offer to God thanksgiving and pay your vows to the Most High. You please God when you magnify Him with thanksgiving.
4. A broken spirit and contrite heart. “You would not be pleased with sacrifices, or I would bring them. If I brought you a burnt offering, you would not accept it. The sacrifice you want is a broken spirit. A broken and repentant heart, O God, you will not despise” (Psalm 51:16-17 New Living Translation). Psalm 34:18 says the LORD is near to those who have a broken heart and saves such as have a contrite spirit. A broken and repentant heart pleases God. He is pleased with a heart that is broken, penitent, and restored to Him.
5. A right choice, decision, or speech or a right request in prayers. 1 Kings 3:9-11 says that when Solomon asked for an understanding heart to judge God’s people to be able to discern between good and evil and not long life or riches, Solomon’s speech pleased God. Therefore, God granted his request and gave him in addition riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like him among the kings all his days (verse 13).
1 John 5:14 says this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. Isaiah 56:4 talks about the eunuchs who keep God’s Sabbath days holy – who choose to do what pleases Him and commit their lives to Him. Find out what is acceptable to the Lord (Ephesians 5:10). Do it and you will be pleasing Him.
6. Acceptable sacrifice (you and your gifts). Offering acceptable sacrifice to God pleases Him. Romans 12:1 says believers should present their bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is their reasonable service. Offer yourself to God first as a living sacrifice before you offer any gift to Him. God said in Ezekiel 20:41 that when He would bring the Israelites home from exile, they would be as pleasing to Him as an offering of perfumed incense.
In addition, your acceptable gift pleases God. In Philippians 4:18, Paul describes the gifts the Philippians sent to him through Epaphroditus as a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God. These acceptable gifts could be gifts to God’s servants, the church, or the poor and the needy. God will reward you. The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered (Proverbs 11:25).
Conclusion: If you make pleasing human beings your goal in life, you will eventually be miserable because it won’t work. Your compromises will make you miserable. If you pursue pleasing human beings, you will ultimately lose; if you pursue pleasing God, you will ultimately win. If you try to please human beings, you cannot ultimately win; if you commit yourself to please God, you cannot ultimately lose. Make pleasing God your goal in life, not pleasing human beings.
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.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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