We tackled the topic ‘can I please God?’ with a challenging study of Colossians where God teaches us who we are in Christ and how that shapes our life in the military.
Life is full of relationships – some by virtue of our birth (family), some by choice (friends), some by circumstance (work, sport). Day to day life surrounded by other people. Whether we release it or not, those people influence us. They influence what we do, what we think, what we say, what we don’t say. Depending on how much we value their opinion, depending on how much we seek their acceptance, depending on what might happen if we lose their favour, determines what we will do to please them.
Instead of asking “how do I please God?” we ask “how do I please other people?” Not quite so blatantly – pleasing others sounds like brown nosing. More subtle:
- What is the best way to fit into this team or group?
- What should I be doing to be accepted? To be liked? To be respected? To be valued?
- How do I make my boss happy with my work?
These aren’t bad questions to be asking. There are good, godly reasons to be liked, respected and valued. The problem is when we worry about these and put God and his Kingdom out of the picture. What we are doing is putting ourselves at the centre, worrying about our own reputation.
And it affects our whole life:
- Who we hang out with
- Who we work for
- What job we do
- Where we live
- What we do socially – drinking etc
- How we spend our time and hard earned $$
Our reputation is not the only reason we worry about this stuff. Also cause it feels good! We either do it for our reputation. Or we do it for our pleasure. If there is no one else worth pleasing, I will just please myself.
In one sense it is natural, i.e. in our ‘nature’ as in Colossians 3:5:
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
This is pretty heavy! How serious is the stuff in this list? It sure can be attractive, appealing, feel right, feel good. But it doesn’t please God and it needs to be put to death! Why? Because we are in Christ as in Colossians 3:1-2:
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
Whatever belongs to the earthly nature is now unnatural for those who are in Christ.
So what is the fix?
- Treat earthly nature as dead
- Put on the new nature
- Be committed to things that will last
You don’t get undressed unless you’ve got new clothes to put on! What are the new clothes? What does the new nature look like? It’s there in Colossians 3:12-14:
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
When it comes to pleasing God, lots of unbelievers think it is about:
- Give all your money to the church
- Life being as miserable as possible – no sex or alcohol
- Boring Bible study and church meetings
No way! Pleasing God is about being in a healthy relationship with him. And being committed to things that will last – treating others how we have been treated by God and seeking to grow his eternal Kingdom.