Who Are We Aiming to Please?

July 4, 2004
Tony Tietz

Have you ever felt like just when you started getting on track with God, everything falls apart? Remember the story of spies in the promised land, Joseph in a ditch, Paul left for dead, or Jeremiah in a cistern. Our success with God cannot always be measured by our success with others. The prophets suffered persecution because they were authentically looking to please God. But around people that clamed to be doing the same weren't.

[10] "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. [11] Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. [12] Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5:10-12(NIV)

5 Questions concerning who we are aiming to please.

  1. Am I worn out? Why?
    Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
    Romans 8:8 (NIV)

    And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
    Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)

    Aren't you trying to please yourself?

  2. Who am I working for?
    [11] Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, [12] so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.
    1Thessalonians 4:11-12 (NIV)

    And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
    Colossians 3:17 (NIV)

    Are you serving yourself, your boss, or God?

  3. Why do people get upset with me?
    [32] Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God-- [33] even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.
    1 Corinthians 10:32-33 (NIV)

    Act for the good of your neighbor. If they are opposed to Jesus, they should be opposed to me! But God may use us to change their opinions of Himself, or it may be a difficult process.

    I will show myself holy among you in the sight of the nations.
    Ezekiel 20:41b (NIV)

  4. How do my actions affect God's feelings about me?
    [29] After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church-- [30] for we are members of his body.
    Ephesians 5:29-30 (NIV)

    Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need for the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

  5. How can I better aim to please God?
    Review the first four questions.

Conclusion: The scripture says that when a man's ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. If, for whatevr reason, however, we are still wrongly hated in the midst of our pursuit to please God and live like the prophets, this should not be a roadblock. It's a reminder we are on the right track and that our reward will be great.