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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Are You Pleasing God?

Hebrews 11:6 (ESV)
6  And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

I don't like living by faith. There! I said it. I like money in the bank. I like a clear path. I like things worked out before I go to work. I don't like praying that the bills can be paid. I don't like taking on tasks which get so much opposition from the congregation because they don't like to live on faith either.

June 2007 was an important month for our church. That was the first month in a line of months in which we took in less money than we spent. I knew the recession had hit before it became public. You can tell by church offerings. People were losing their jobs and money was getting tight. They quit giving like they did.

Since then we have lived like the Israelites on manna. Each day there is enough to pay the bills but there is nothing left over for tomorrow. God has been extremely good. We had gone in debt before the recession. A lady in our church who had never been married gave all that she had to the church. She didn't live like she had any money at all but what she gave in the end, along with some money we had in savings, paid off our debt. We have lived debt free since that time. Some former members gave nearly $100k one year toward our budget. It allowed us to continue to operate. We have lived week to week, month to month and year to year by faith that God would supply.

I don't like living this way. I would rather have a Promised Land flowing with milk and honey. I would rather have the barns full and the treasury bursting with gold. (I am being honest even if I'm not proud of it.) I want to be worry free because of what I have rather than what God has.

But living by sight does not please God. Living by faith does. It requires me to act in obedience even when there is nothing in the bank. It required Joshua to go into the Promised Land and attack Jericho first. It required many to preach the gospel without knowing how they would be received.

Don't get me wrong. I want to please God. I just don't want to please Him by acting by faith. That's the story of the parable of the talents isn't it. The man with only one talent failed to act in faith and simply returned it to the master. Somehow he thought that was going to be okay. The master expected each one to take what he was given and make more. It took faith to make more. The one who merely kept it safe didn't act by faith at all.

But if I want to please God I must act by faith. I must accept His will and go into areas without sight. I must take on things that aren't guaranteed. I must believe that He will walk with me, give me direction and provide for whatever He desires to do.

Of course, in the end I will love that I acted by faith. It's taking those steps into the unknown that is hard.

Are you pleasing God? What can you point to that you are doing that causes you to depend upon God to provide? What acts are you doing by His will that cause you to fully depend upon Him?


Anthony Chia said...

Do we really want to please God? I find that perhaps, we genuinely desire and will go about pleasing another when we are truly loving the other. There are of course, many motivations that can be cited for us to please another; where at the base of them, is the question of “what is in it, for me?”. I speak from first-hand knowledge that when this (“what is in it, for me?”) is frequently posed in a family setting, trouble maybe coming, divorce etc may even be, in the works. Why? Because the true love component is ceasing.

When the other party is God, I believe it is also similar; i.e. you will only in a mode of wanting continually, to please God, when you are loving God. The posture that we should be having should NOT be, “I will please God because I want this or that!” When it is so, when you don’t have this or that which you need God to give it to you, you don’t please Him, or He becomes furthest from your heart and mind. It is NOT so, when we are loving certain individuals, like our spouse or children; for them, don’t you always think of them (they will come into your mind) when something to be decided will impact/affect them. You will have their interest and welfare at heart all the time. You will think about whether they will lack something, for example, when you are considering to be away for a time.

When we love another, we would like to please that someone, generally speaking. And we will give heed to what will please that someone. Very simple, if that someone does NOT like durian, don’t buy him/her durian; if he/she likes custard apple, then get him/her custard apple. So, it is with God. If we love God, we should like to please Him, and we should give heed to what will please Him, God. And so, if He has said, and He has said, without faith it is impossible to please Him, then we should develop our faith and move in faith, and NOT neglect the development of our faith and go about things without faith.

What does it mean to be with a posture of faith? One can look at it from various angles. Two angles I will touch on, here.

One, faith is like you fear NOT when you get up an SIA plane and fly to, say, USA. You don’t worry if the pilot is fit to fly or NOT, or if the plane is air-worthy or NOT, or that some terrorists are on the plane, and the plane may be forced to plunge into the Empire State building. God is much, much and much better than SIA. If you don’t worry with SIA, how more you should NOT worry with travelling with God (or walking or moving with God)! SIA may get you to where you want to go, in time and comfortably too; “that is your reward for your “faith” in SIA”. God NOT only get you to a place, and in more than in 1-piece, so to speak, He will get you to where He knows best for you, and you will be with peace and joy, NOT only when you reach the destination but along the way. Will you have faith in God, the Almighty?!


Anthony Chia said...

cont. from above

When we fly on SIA, there are rules and regulations you have to abide by, including things you should and should NOT do. You cannot for example, say, “I will NOT eat plane food; I will lit up naked fire and cook my own food”. That would be disastrous if one or more people do that! Another silly example, but nevertheless is a valid one, is that you cannot say, “I want to sit outside of the plane!” No, you cannot open the plane door in mid-air and decide you want to sit outside of the plane! It is so, too, when you walk with God, there are rules and regulations (those who say they are saved by grace and purport that, that “saved by grace” meant that there are no rules and regulations, are plain naïve). So, while it is true there is nothing to fear when you are walking with God, but the issue is how are you walking with God? Are you really walking with God? Are you having the situation of “God is going there, but you are NOT going there, but here?!” Or are you ignoring “Hey, you cannot get to the outside of the plane!” (so to speak). You can try it, NOT be “an obedient passenger”, and see what will happen. Don’t do it, don’t blame me if you are man-handled! God is graceful and merciful, still you and I cannot profane His grace.

Are you walking after and with God? The walk with God is a walk “after and with” God. It is NOT God to walk with you, but it is you follow God. It is you follow Him, and you walk with Him. If you follow Him NOT, you won’t be walking with Him, no matter what you may think or say! Therefore, walking with God, always involves seeking Him, and earnestly and diligently, too.

What is the other posture of faith that I want to touch on? It is connotated in this “Surely, you do NOT need to do, to this extent!” Or another simple way to put it, “Leave room for God”. Are you God or God is God? Is it NOT you are following Him; or is it you are saying He is following you? If you leave no room for God to do His part, you are in fact, NOT following Him; you are saying, “You just watch and see; or you (God!) tag along” If there is any tagging along, it is you and I, tag along God, NOT the other way round! When we try in the extreme to cover all grounds, so to speak, it is NOT only, we have no faith, we are saying (to God) we are on our own! And that is pride!

Don’t get me wrong; I am NOT saying God cannot be expecting you and I, to be able to independently do certain things. Maybe an illustration is this: When you are small, a child, your father or mother may teach you how to brush your teeth, but now you can brush your teeth, and your father or mother is NOT at all bothered with this activity of yours, although they would still be keen to know if you brush your teeth regularly. Is your dad NOT interested in your life anymore? If He loves you, you try getting married, all without him (NOT informing him, NOT getting his views, NOT involving him in the wedding proper, etc), you can see if he is pleased or NOT. Of course, he is (interested in your life), and of course, he is NOT pleased.

Of course, in our walk with God, it can also be that we run ahead of God; but don’t do that. We are sheep, He is our Shepherd; we still are to follow Him, or we may fall into the ravine, for example; painful for us and painful for God! You and I, should NOT stray from, and we should run ahead of, our Shepherd.

Now, can you and I please God without faith? We may do a thing or two, without faith or without specific regard to God, or as unto God (like brushing your teeth; even this, can be argued to be with faith), BUT AS A WALK (and if you looked at the earlier verse, Heb 11:5 {blog text is Heb 11:6}, you see it there, a walk with God {Enoch’s walk with God}), YOU CANNOT BE PLEASING TO GOD, IF YOU OPERATE WITHOUT FAITH, SO VERY OFTEN.


Anthony Chia said...

cont. from above

But I could be wrong, make the wrong move, when I try to walk in faith (that is why I walk in FACTS/SIGHT), then how, bro Anthony? You ask yourself: Isn’t He your Lord, and isn’t He faithful, and isn’t mindful of you and caring of you, and isn’t Him all capable, and knows how to take care of you, meanwhile, if you will love and call unto Him; and isn’t He to you, dependable? Only this (I say): “Will you die, die, follow Him?”

But bro Anthony, how can I begin to move in the right direction of operating always with faith? For a start, get into this posture (meaning, always, asking): “What would Jesus do, for this thing, situation or scenario?” This puts us into the mode of doing thing as unto the Lord.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions
PS: I have arrived? No.

Anonymous said...

I love to please my God in alot duty with joy to do in faith and in the HOly Spirits help with sowing my seed in hope to reap later big harvest in life with grace in Jesus name ,thanks and bles and win,keijo sweden