9 — What We Believe About the Christian Life (Part 2)

In his earliest letter, the Apostle Paul reviewed elementary Christian teaching with some of his new converts. As he came to the end of that letter he wrote: “Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.”

We believe that the Christian life is first and foremost about pleasing the Lord. Not ourselves. Not our neighbors. Not even our spouses.

Scripture emphasizes this repeatedly.

In his second Corinthian letter Paul wrote: “we make it our goal to please [Christ], . . . For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”

To the Galatians he wrote: “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

And to the Colossians he wrote: “. . . we have not stopped praying for you . . . in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way . . .”

The example of Jesus is that he did not live to please Himself, sought to please His heavenly Father[1] and that led him to seek the best interests of others before his own. Why? Because that’s what was pleasing to God.

Whatever we believe about the Christian life, everything must fall under this heading. Our eternal destiny depends on it.[2] It is why the Christian life can never be about check lists or rote or ritualistic behavior. Pleasing God can never be accomplished while on auto-pilot.

Footnotes:

[1] This fact means that everything comes before pleasing self. So Paul writes in Romans 15:1-3 “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”

[2] Galatians 6:8