Pleasing to God (Colossians 3:20)

The scriptures inform us that the action of children obeying their parents is well pleasing to the Lord. 

Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. (Colossians 3:20)

It does not say that children who obey their parents are well pleasing to the Lord, but that obeying parents is pleasing to him. As a child of God which positionally puts you in Christ, God is always pleased with you. However, there may be things that you do that may be displeasing to the him.

This can be difficult for some to understand. They are locked into the thought that if a person does something that is displeasing to the Lord, then the Lord must also be displeased with them. 

What we must understand is that God does not exist in linear time. This means that God is not stuck in time like you and me only moving forward from one day to the next. Time does not affect him: he can see from the beginning to the end and from the end to the beginning.

My children, as all children, have done things that are pleasing to me and also displeasing. Some of these actions were faults and others we sins. However when I look at them and assess whether or not I am pleased with them, I am able to see and recall much of their past and even with their faults and sins, I can still truly be pleased with them.

God looks at us from eternity future. The complete workings of salvation have been accomplished and from that standpoint as he looks at you in today’s time, you are pleasing to him. You are pleasing to God because of Christ and whenever he sees you, he sees you in Christ. The actions you do may be displeasing, but you are still pleasing to him. If you remain in disobedience and continue to act in ways that displease the Lord, he may chasten you. He will do this because he takes pleasure in you, and he cannot allow you to ruin your life.

Remember, your relationship with God is completely based on the works of Christ. There is nothing that you can do that will make you any more or less acceptable to him.

Fearing God vs Being Afraid of God

There is a difference between fearing the Lord and being afraid of the Lord. The former recognizes the greatness of God and his ability to do whatever he chooses. Therefore, he submits himself to the one that he recognizes as sovereign. Those who are afraid of the Lord, do not submit themselves to a sovereign God to rule over them. They instead perform actions in an attempt to keep God from exercising his anger upon them. The former will have a love relationship with God: the latter will struggle with love and acceptance. 

How did Job respond when his world caved in upon him? He continued to fear the Lord. He remained steadfast in trusting God’s sovereignty and continued to submit himself to him. (Job 1:21) Had Job been afraid of God, would his actions have been the same? Most likely not. His actions would have more been in line with those of his accuser. If a person lives in fear and governs his actions to keep God from punishing him, how would he react when God does exercise wrath? As the accuser stated, “He will curse thee to thy face.” It would be in that manner that he would act.

God wants you to fear him, but not be afraid of him. Fearing God is respecting God for who he is and the power that he possesses. Those who fear the Lord will recognize God’s ability to raise up and to put down, to love and admonish or to rebuke and chasten, and to exercise his will because what he desires is for the benefit of those he created.

When you are afraid of God, you have a difficult time accepting his love. Being afraid and accepting love cannot cohabit because perfect love casts out fear. (1 John 4:18). Recognize that God loves you and that any actions that he has towards you will be motivated by his love. As we seek him for our lives, blessings will flow to us from his love, but if our steps begin to slip, he by love will take whatever actions are necessary to keep us from ruining our lives.

Living a life of fearing the Lord is a joy and blessing, but living a life afraid of God is a struggle and burden.

Sneak Peak of God’s Big Deal (1 Peter 1:8-9)

I remember staying home from school sick. Being sick was never fun, but the best part of it was being able to watch the TV game shows. One of my favorites was Let’s Make a Deal. Sometimes contestants would blindly trade for items that they could not see, but at other times, contestants would be given a sneak peak at what was behind a curtain. Sometimes that trade would work out for good and other times it didn’t.

We as believers have somewhat the same opportunity. We get to experience a peak of what God has in store for us.

Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:8-9)

We don’t get to see into the future or peak to see what is on the other side of the pearly gates, but we do get to experience some aspects of our salvation on this side of eternity.

Before coming to Christ, sin controlled us with its dominating grip, but now we experience power over sin. No longer are we a slave to sin and bound in its chains. Salvation set us free and Christ gave us liberty. As the power of Christ gives us victory over sin, liberty gives us the ability to make right choices and to choose righteousness instead of sin.

We experience light and are no longer in darkness. God’s word lightens our path and the Holy Spirit lightens our eyes so that by faith we can see God and follow him. He also dwells in the heart of every believer and because of it, he guides, teaches, intercedes and gives us comfort. Because he dwells in us, we are never alone.

Our stepping stones to heaven are lined with great and precious promises. From them we have assurance of what God will do through us and also for us.

Probably one of my greatest experiences in salvation is my adoptive relationship with God. The night that I trusted Christ as savior, God the Father adopted me into his family. Before this, my heart experienced a great void: an emptiness that nothing on earth was able to satisfy, but when I came to Christ, the love of God filled my heart.

This is not all that we will experience. One day, our salvation will be complete, but until then, we get to peak behind Heaven’s curtain and see part of the big deal that God has prepared for us.

Loving the God We Cannot See (1 Peter 1:8)

Love: a word used so freely today, but what does it mean? True love is the desire that a person has to meet the needs of another without expecting to receive anything in return. With that, a great question arises. Can you love someone with whom you have never met face-to-face? 

Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: (1 Peter 1:8)

The answer is simple. You can love someone that you have never seen, but only if you have had the opportunity to interact with them.

In the early 20th century, a man in America, named Charles, began to correspond with the young woman, named Minnie, who lived on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Their many letters shared the events of their lives: their likes, dislikes, problems and struggles. The letters also contained hopes, dreams and passions. All the time as the letters were shared something began to happen. Each began to be concerned for the other and desired to be with them so that they may experience life together: to share, help, care and love. They fell in love and one day, decided to marry. They never met face-to-face until the day that she came off of the ship on America’s shore. To them, it didn’t matter what the other person looked like: they knew each other and recognized the beauty that each possessed within. Several decades later, I met them and marveled at their story of love.

We too can love someone that we have never met face-to-face. Through our interactions with the Lord, we can experience him in times of trials and testing. The words that he has recorded for us speak to our hearts and encourage us in the deepest of struggles. When sorrow comes, only his words bring comfort. When others have rejected and cast us out, his words of love and the promise to always be with us draw our hearts close to him. When nobody understands or cares, he does and he tells us to cast our cares on him. (1 Peter 5:7). When we are confused and searching for direction, he sheds light on our path to brighten the way. Each of these interactions bring us into a greater understanding of the person who saved us and through it all we begin to love him. 

One day, we will embark off of the ship on eternities shore and will take part in the marriage between Jesus and his church. But until then, our hearts rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory all because we know and love this person that we have never seen.  

Our Inheritance (1 Peter 1:4)

In 1993, my father passed away. There were a few items that he owned, which were special to me. One item was a jewelry box. I can remember it as far back as my memory can recall. In it, he kept his cufflinks and some small change. When you open the lid, a song played an a figurine popped up and spun around. Not long after his passing, it was given to me. Occasionally, I lift the lid and listen to the music. When I do this, my heart stirs as it remembers him. To me the inheritance is of great value. 

I have another inheritance that I received for my other father, the Lord God. This inheritance is so special and it isn’t anything like the jewelry box, which has painted that is faded and flaking away. This inheritance will not decay, fade, or change from its purest state. I am assured of this because God said that this inheritance is reserved or guarded for me in heaven. I father has big plans and he isn’t going to allow anything to change or defile my inheritance.

Times may change and the world may continue to slip away into greater corruption as they embrace every low form of morality and living. It may appear as if everything right is wrong and the wrong of this world is right. Times may be troublesome on the Earth, but not in Heaven. Remember, God has a plan for you and your inheritance in Heaven is guarded and remains the same. One day, we will experience all that he has for us and only then can we fully recognize that what we endured for him was worth it all.

Guaranteed! So instead of focusing on what is happening around you, focus on him and set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

Begotten Us Again (1 Peter 1:3)

There was no hope for the natural man. When Adam fell, he plummeted mankind into sin and hopelessness. When he sinned, it was not merely an act, but instead a decision that would affect everyone in every aspect of their lives. When Adam took hold of sin, sin took hold of mankind and ravished it. There was no way to stop it and he could not be reformed. The only hope for man was for him to be made a new creature.

When a person trust Christ as Savior, God makes him a new creature or a new creation. This work of mercy does not change the physical creation of man, but instead man’s spiritual state. Man’s rebirth would give him a hope – a lively hope – one that would dwell within him every day.

Life can be crushing. In your life, how many tears of sorrow have you shed? How many times have you held the hand of a loved one is their heart burst with anguish and sorrow? Your past has not been great and your future will most likely contain just as much sorrow. But since the new birth, there is a hope that lives and dwells within you. That lively hope will enable you to look to your merciful God who will provide comfort, strength and direction. How did you get this lively hope? It came because of the mercy of God.

To illustrate this, imagine you are one of the crew on the ship. While on deck, you feel the tremble as an explosion occurs below deck. The event created a gaping hole in the side of the ship. Water comes rushing in taking lives of men as it advances through the ship. 

The blast of alarms sound around you and everyone begins to abandon ship. You fall into the water and begin swimming for your life. Terror fills the air and your heart is pounding as you try your best to continue to swim. You eventually fear that you cannot go on and you just want to give up and get this whole terrifying experience over. And then, a floatation device springs up out of the water. 

Quickly you make your way towards the object and grasp it with all of your might. Immediately your heart moves from fear to hope as you cling to the device and exclaimed, “I’m saved!”

In the distance, you hear people struggling and screaming. As you float in safety, others less fortunate succumb and become one more floating casually. 

This illustration depicts your life and mine. Lost in sin, we were without hope and regardless of how much struggling to overcome the result ended in failure. And then, the Savior came. Since the moment that we clung to him, we have been saved. Oh, we may still be floating in the sea of the world, but one day, the Savior will lift us out and deliver us from the presence of all that is around us. 

We have a hope and our hope is in Christ. It is not a dead hope, but a lively one. We can live each day and face the fear of all that is around us. We can do this because we know that we will be delivered. This is our lively hope.

Fainted and Scattered (Matthew 9:36)

It is not difficult for anyone to see that the lives of so many people today are just a mess. How did they get this way? Why don’t they just get it together and do whatever needs to be done?

But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. (Matthew 9:36)

From this passage, it appears that people become weak in life’s struggle and instead of continuing to fight on, they relax their resistance and faint. When this occurs, the person’s life then becomes subject to the problems and trials of life. Their lives get tossed about from side to side being cast about and cast down. This does not occur as a result of the weakness of the individual, because none of us have the ability to stand against the enemy. This occurs because of the absence of a shepherd in the person’s life. Sometimes there is not a shepherd because salvation has not yet been experienced, but other times it is because the person becomes estranged from their shepherd savior. Whether it be by confusion of doctrine, ill treatment from those in the body of Christ, person hurts and losses or sin: the separation occurs.

Today there are countless believers tossed about. They are away from their shepherd and the way to bring them back into the fold is to love them back. Bearing their burdens (Galatians 6:2) is the act of you bringing your strength to those who are weak until they can once again gain the strength for living that can only come from their shepherd.