Galatians 1:10 (KJV) “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”
God anointed me to be a pastor, an under shepherd. To fulfil this calling, He also anointed me to teach His Word. Now, I know many believe there are only four (4) ministry gifts that Jesus gave to His Church – Ephesians 4:11 (KJV) “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;” (Emphasis Added) – BUT, Jesus gave five (5) ministry gifts! You see, the words “pastors and teachers” were not intended to be linked together into one phrase. It would have been more appropriately stated, “pastors, and teachers.”
Not all pastors are teachers, and not all teachers are pastors! In today’s dominant understanding of “pastors,” we expect each pastor to be a “preacher.” However, preaching the Word of God and teaching the Word of God are not necessarily the same thing. There’s a reason I’m beginning this blog this way. It is because God chose to call and anoint me to be a pastor and a teacher. The “teacher” in me makes it very difficult to answer a Bible question with a simple “yes” or “no!” Thus, we have this lengthy introduction!
I read one of my first blogs to a group of pastors with whom I grouped over 4 years ago. They asked me to share it, so I did. I couldn’t help but laugh when they said, almost in unison, “It’s good, but it’s longer than most blogs!” Oh, well! They were correct. We discontinued meeting a few weeks after that reading. However, it had nothing to do with my blog – it was the end of a “season.”
I am gladdened by everyone who takes the time to read my blogs. That is one of the reasons I take this so seriously. But the primary reason I take this seriously is my desire to please God. In this desire, as I submit to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, I discover that He prompts and provokes my thinking in the vein of teaching that is in keeping with the spiritual personality He invested in me.
Consequently, my blogs tend to be written for those who are interested in growing in Grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. You see, that is what the Holy Spirit is interested in! Most of my blogs are written to facilitate increased Bible study and may be used by other pastors and teachers to teach the Word of God to others. Perhaps what the Holy Spirit presents will prompt you to be refreshed, restored, repentant, or renewed.
Considering this, I draw your attention to today’s Scripture. It is a Biblical truth that it is an impossibility for anyone to live a life that focuses on pleasing God in all things while attempting to please men at the same time. I state it again, it’s impossible to accomplish, so don’t even try! I know this is true because Jesus said the same thing…
Matthew 6:24 (KJV) “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
Now, before anyone starts to raise an opposing statement such as, “Jesus was saying you can’t serve God with all your heart while devoting all your affections and efforts to gaining money, and wasn’t talking about pleasing people” as an argument to my statement, let me say, “Both statements are true! One cannot devote himself to anything, or anyone, other than God and please God at the same time!” The only way to succeed in God’s Kingdom is to be “Kingdom-minded, Kingdom-mannered, and King-managed!”
Remember, Paul wasn’t saying you can’t live your life trying to please men. Jesus wasn’t saying you can’t devote yourself to gaining riches. They were both saying you cannot do either of these while pleasing God at the same time! Both were saying – “Don’t try! It’s impossible to do it!”
You see, we either live a selfish life or a self-less life. If we attempt to do both, we will be miserable – many will despise us. If we live a selfish life – everyone will despise us. If we live a self-less life – some will despise us. IF we live a self-less, sanctified life – some will despise us, some will love us, BUT God will be pleased!
The Man, Christ Jesus possessed and practiced the principle of “Living to Please God,” and it was the reason He was victorious over the enemy and was highly exalted by His Father.
John 8:28-29 (KJV) “Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him” (Emphasis Added).
The Man, Christ Jesus, Who had to learn Who He was and the purpose for which His Father placed Him on earth, had to make a decision early in life – whether to live a life that would please Himself, or live a life that would please His Father. I’m so grateful He chose the latter!!
When we choose to live to please ourselves, we place ourselves in the center of our lives. Look at the word, “P R I D E.” “I” is in the center! Thus, we have…
Proverbs 16:18 (KJV) “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Emphasis Added).
Psalm 24:3-5 (KJV) “Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation” (Emphasis Added).
If anyone had the right to live for Himself, it was Jesus! If anyone had the right to exalt Himself, it was Jesus! If anyone had the right to talk about Himself, it was Jesus! If anyone had the right to talk about excellence, it was Jesus! Yet, Jesus exemplified humility, honor, honesty, and holiness. Jesus modeled “Living to Please God!” Thus, we have…
Matthew 17:5 (KJV) “While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” (Emphasis Added).
There are two excellent motivators to prompt us to practice “Living to Please God.” Consider…
Matthew 25:21 (KJV) “His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Emphasis Added).
I certainly desire to hear the Lord say, “Well done” when He calls me home! Also…
Proverbs 16:7 (KJV) “When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Emphasis Added).
I don’t know about you, but I could sure stand to have more peace in this world!
We’ve discussed the need to practice “Living to Please God,” next week we will begin to study what “Living to Please God” looks like.