Pleasing God

"For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth."  2 Cor. 10:18

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Will Rogers used to say that he loved to hear people talk about themselves because then he knew he wouldn’t hear anything but good. The Bible declares, "Every way of a man is right in his own eyes." Most of us are quick to condemn others, and quick to commend ourselves.

The old Quaker said, "There’s something wrong in this church with everyone except me and thee, and sometimes I can’t help wondering about thee!" We are all prejudiced in our own favor, and tend to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think. In judging others, we are apt to judge by appearances, without having access to all the facts in the case.

A little boy was asked by his teacher to use "I" in a sentence. He started out, "I is...," when the teacher stopped him, saying, "It is not ‘I is;" it’s ‘I am, ‘you are,’ ‘he is.’ Now finish your sentence." He continued, "I am the ninth letter of the alphabet."

While the Christian will never have to appear before the Great White Throne for judgment for his sins (since Christ appeared once for all at Calvary, and paid the debt for his sins there), each believer will give an account at the Judgment Seat of Christ for his service, good or bad, for the Scriptures say that "we must all appear" there.

The Scriptures tell us that, in view of that day, we should all give the utmost diligence to be approved unto God, workmen who need not to be ashamed (2 Tim. 2:15). No earthly laurels, no cum laude or magna cum laude, could ever possibly compare with, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord!" Not only done, but well done.

The disciples even derided Mary— Judas Iscariot leading in their fault-finding—but the Lord commended her. She heard the jeers of men, but she also heard the cheering words of the Lord, commending her sacrificial expression of heart devotion. "She hath done what she could." Not "she has done what she couldn’t do." She gave all that she had to give, to Christ, holding nothing back. She broke that alabaster box of ointment, very precious, and poured it on our Lord.

He said, "She is come aforesaid to anoint My body to the burying. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her" (Mark 14:8-9). Hers was a forget-me-not deed. It was a not-for-profit operation from which both she and we have profited enormously.

Judas, who sold Christ for thirty pieces of silver, engaged in a really not-for-profit venture. He did not get to keep the cash, and he lost his reputation and his soul.

The apostle Paul wrote, "With me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self...He that judgeth me is the Lord" (1 Cor. 4:3-4). The Lord does not judge by the way things appear to be. He judges righteous judgment.

The people of Enoch’s day went looking for him (probably to murder him, for he preached faithfully to them of God’s judgment— see Jude 14-15). We read that they were not able to find him, because God had translated him, that he should not see death.

Enoch had only the hatred of men for his trouble, but "before his translation, he had this testimony—that he pleased God."

Can you think of any better words to be written over anyone’s life: "He/she pleased God?" If you please your friends, your neighbors, your fellow men, etc., that may be commendable; but the only thing that really matters is, "Have you pleased God?"

John 5:22 tells us that God has "committed all judgment unto the Son." We read of some who "loved the praise of men more than the praise of God." Since all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do, it should be our constant aim to "walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing" (Col. 1:10).

We should pray daily with the Psalmist, "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-24).

The Lord commended the Roman centurion (Matt. 8:5-10), and the Syrophenician woman (Mark 7:26) for their great faith. God is tremendously interested in great faith and faithfulness. "It is required in stewards that a man be found faithful." He is not impressed by great wealth, great wisdom, or great accomplishments if they are devoid of faith. The important question in life is not, "What do you think?", but "What think ye of Christ?"

Joshua was instructed to cleave to the Lord and to His Word, with purpose of heart, for "then shalt thou make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success" (Joshua 1:8). The only prosperity that has any lasting value is the prosperity of the soul. Health and wealth ultimately fail us all. Sooner or later, disease, decay or death come to all men. We take nothing with us when we go. "We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out."

Gaius was not a wealthy man, but he was a spiritually prosperous man, for we read: "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth."

 

To lose your health is much;
To lose your wealth is more;
To lose your soul is such a loss
That nothing can restore.

For the believer, the best is ahead: a new body (Phil. 3:20-21), an eternal home, and eternal joy! He is "able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy" (Jude 24). So, labor on for and with Him. The glory lies ahead. "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord" (1 Cor. 15:58).

 

THE LORD WAS WITH HIM

"The Lord was with him"!
Thus it was he prospered!
In dire affliction’s place, he fruitful grew:
The wrongs consumed him not;
He o’er them triumphed;
The Lord was with him!
Thus he was kept true.

"The Lord was with him"!
Thus the thrilling story—
The chequered life, the mystery
and pain;
The tragic trials—then the later glory,
When all was clear, and understood,
And plain.

"The Lord was with him"!
Blessed, hallowed record!
The secret of a life blest much to men;
Of use to God in helping fill His purpose;
And shall He not a like thing work again?

Soul—couldst thou wish for greater,
richer treasure
Than that the Lord Himself shouldst be
with thee—
Shouldst crown thy life in rich, unstinted
measure
With His sublime and sovereign company?

Couldst thou desire a record nobler,
grander,
Than that, throughout life’s strangely
chequered way,
The Lord, in thee, found such unsullied
pleasure,
That He Himself was with thee day by day?