Several years ago I was presented with the question, “would you rather please God, or trust Him?” Sadly, after much reflection, I realized I had been living my life primarily to please God. I did trust Him, but if I had to choose, pleasing Him was my first choice. While we should strive to live a life devoted and pleasing to our Heavenly Father, the Bible is pretty clear about the pathway to achieving this goal… trusting Him. Hebrews 11:6 plainly states, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” This simple confusion of priorities makes a world of difference in how you actually live your life. You see, when you get these two very good things out of order, you live with much of the focus on you. Living to please God, will prompt you to keep track of what you’re doing and how you are doing it. It can lead to comparison, and comparing ourselves to others usually leads to feeling better about ourselves than we should, or conversely, feeling like we don’t measure up. So, you can see how this one simple twist in thinking, can effect what you think and ultimately affect how you live your life. You end up doing good things, for good reasons, but you become tired, and are often left feeling like you just don’t measure up. The devil is delighted when we live here. It makes his job much easier. We live crippled in our identity which leads to us being crippled in our effectiveness. When we become aware of this one simple truth, we change our focus and it sets us free. When we begin to fix our eyes on Jesus first and what He has done, and place our hope and trust in Him, it takes the pressure off what we need to do. He’s done all of the heavy lifting. We only need to receive what He has done for us and live from that place of truth, identity and freedom. This simple tweak in perspective has changed how I live. It’s similar to the truth found in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” When we keep the main thing the main thing, our thinking and our prayers change, and it affects how we live and deal with the stresses of life. It’s a simple truth, but simple doesn’t always mean easy. That’s for sure.
Today, what is your priority? To please God or to trust Him with your life and the lives of those you love? Are you motivated by a desire to please a demanding God? Or, are you a pleasing aroma to the Father because of your faith and trust that He is a good, good Father? I would like to take this opportunity to say, “He loves you!” “He is not mad at you”. “He has an amazing plan for your life”. You may know this in your mind, but do you know it in your heart? Are you acting like it? I hope so. I’m still realizing this amazing truth. There are times I catch myself working to please Him, and I have to stop, take a breath and remind myself who He really is, and who I really am in Him. When I live with this perspective, it takes the pressure off of me to do and be, and I find rest in His grace-filled love. I am no longer preoccupied with pleasing people. Worrying whether or not they like me. I don’t live for their approval any longer. (At least I’m trying to get to this place. It’s a process) But I have decided to place my hope and trust in Jesus, and worry about the rest later. Much later.
“We love because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:9