Priority of Pleasing the Lord
One type of Bible study which yields a tremendous amount of Biblical truth and practical application is a word study--examining a Greek, Hebrew or Aramaic word in the various Scripture passages in which it is found.
One word which yields a tremendous about of truth for how to appropriately live the Christian life is the Greek word which is translated "pleasing" and "accepted." The Greek word is αρεσκω (pronounced ah-res-ko).
Greek lexicons (dictionaries) define pleasing as "gratify, delight, please, gain favor" (Liddel, Scott, Jones, A Greek-English Lexicon). We can use the following two phrases to understand this word: "to be in a person's good graces," and "to put a smile on a person's face."
The Bible reveals three categories of persons who God's children can please. First, and most importantly, a Christian can please the Lord (Romans 12:1; 2 Corinthians 5:9; Ephesians 5:10; 1 Thessalonians 2:4; 4:1, 2; 2 Timothy 2:3, 4). Second, a Christian can please himself (Romans 15:1). Third, a Christian can please other human beings (1 Corinthians 10:33) which can be sub-divided into some of following groups: brothers and sisters in Christ (Romans 15:1, 2), spouses (1 Corinthians 7:33, 34), and slave masters (Titus 2:9 - equated today with employers).
In studying the New Testament Scripture passages where "pleasing" or "accepted" is located, four foundational truths emerge:
1. The believer's ultimate priority is to please the Lord;
2. Pleasing men is a noble endeavor.
3. Every decision concerning pleasing men must above all be pleasing to the Lord;
4. God and His authoritative, sufficient Word sets down the rules for what is pleasing and not
pleasing to Himself.
Today's post will explore the first foundational truth--the priority of pleasing the Lord--with subsequent posts addressing the remaining three.
The Bible gives us two reasons why every Christian should make pleasing the Lord his or her ultimate priority.
First, every Christian should make pleasing the Lord his or her ultimate priority because He has given him or her the gift of salvation. Romans 12:1 states that giving ourselves to God as a pleasing sacrifice is due to God's mercies. The first three chapters of Romans declares that every human being is totally depraved and under the just condemnation of God without excuse. God's compassion toward sinners who are unrighteous (Romans 3:10) and not seeking Him (Romans 3:11) is evidenced in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16). God provided three aspects of salvation which is a gift: justification, salvation from the penalty of sins; sanctification, salvation from the controlling power of sin; and glorification, salvation from the presence of sin. Another passage containing pleasing the Lord in light of the gift of salvation is 2 Timothy 2:3, 4: "please the One Who has chosen him."
Second, every Christian, or New Testament Saint, should make pleasing the Lord his or her ultimate priority because he or she will be judged by the Savior before His Bema, or judgment seat (1 Corinthians 3; 2 Corinthians 5; Romans 14). The Apostle Paul states in 2 Corinthians 5:9 and 10 that his aim in life is to be well-pleasing to the Lord because his life and service to the Lord will be examined. Paul's desire is for his life to "put a smile on the Savior's face." He does not wish to displease the Lord and experience great shame for unfaithfulness. Paul preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ boldly and without compromise because God "tests the heart" (1 Thessalonians 2:4). His heart will be exposed and evaluated at the Bema.
In light of God's mercy and Jesus' Bema, how are you doing Christian in pleasing the Lord? Is it your ultimate goal in life? Has something else such as popularity with people or gaining the things of this world been your aim in life and has resulted in you disobeying the Bible? Does your attitude, words and behavior put a smile on the Savior's face?
Let us examine our hearts, asking God to show us our hearts. If there is something askew in our life's priorities, then let us confess and forsake our sin. Let us commit to the Lord being the boss of our lives.