Posts Tagged ‘pleasing god’

Under Gods Command 

Proverbs 10:28 The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked are cut short

The man who obeys God has a bright future. The man who chooses sin will be destroyed. Every man has desires and plans for the future, but only the righteous man will realize blessings and prosperity. The wicked man will not achieve his desire, and then he will go to hell. The lesson is simple. Obeying God works now and later. Sin will never succeed.

Compare length of life that precedes this proverb (Pr 10:27). Righteousness extends life. God guaranteed it (Eph 6:1-3); Solomon confirmed it (Pr 3:2,16; 4:10; 9:11). But the life expectancy of the wicked will be shortened. Solomon declared it (Pr 2:22; 11:19). Experience confirms it. Sinful living and worldly popularity shorten the human lifespan.

Compare marriage (Pr 12:4). Men enter it with great hope and fond expectations. But the wicked man is soon disgusted with his odious tormentor, which is confirmed by the thousands of divorces daily (Pr 11:22; 30:21-23). The righteous man, demanding the fear of the Lord in a spouse, is blissfully glad with his virtuous wife (Pr 19:14; 31:10-31).

Compare children (Pr 10:1; 19:13). The wicked man expects Benjamin Spock’s child care fantasies to yield perfect children. His expectation fails as he sees the arrogant, greedy, lazy, and selfish product of his amoral, effeminate, and permissive approach to parenting. The wise man, trusting God, Solomon, and six thousand years of human history, trains the foolishness out of his son for great parental joy (Pr 22:6,15; 29:15,17).

Examples comparing a righteous man to a wicked man can be multiplied indefinitely, with the wicked man’s expectations always perishing (Ps 34:12-16). Compare Abraham to Lot, Moses to Pharaoh, David to Saul, and Daniel to Belshazzar. But there is another comparison that is much more serious than longevity, marriage, or children. There is the hope and expectation of death. Only the righteous will find anything glad in that event!

Wicked men think they will live forever, or at least leave a perpetual legacy behind them (Ps 49:6-14; 73:1-20). But they are quickly cut off, are forgotten by all, rot in the grave, and drop into the lake of fire (Pr 11:7; Luke 12:16-20; 16:19-26). They expect heaven, or maybe annihilation, but they wake up tormented in hell (Matt 7:21-23; 23:33; 25:31-46).

Righteous men live with the certain promise of eternal life (Job 19:25-27). Their hope is the gladness of heaven, and the reality will far exceed anything they can imagine here (I Cor 2:9). The Lord Jesus Christ Himself saw the joy that was waiting beyond the grave, and the horrible death of crucifixion was little in comparison (Ps 16:8-11; Heb 12:1-3).

Under Gods Command 

Proverbs 30:07 Two things I ask of you, O Lord; do not refuse me before I die 

Do you pray wisely? Do you pray fervently? You reveal your heart by your prayers. Life is short, and pleasing God should be your greatest ambition. Only a few men use their lives well in pursuing this noblest goal. Agur expressed himself strongly to God for two crucial factors in living a life to honor God. Admitting the brevity of life, and confessing his great need, he prayed aggressively for these two important things.

His prayer was not long, for content and fervency are more valuable than length. God rejects the vain repetitions and pagan nature of the Rosary (Matt 6:7-8). Though Agur had other needs, he knew the supreme priority of spiritual blessings. His first request was directly spiritual, and his second was to submit his carnal needs to it. If you always seek God’s kingdom and righteousness first, he will take care of the rest (Matt 6:33).

What did Agur request? He first asked God to save him from vanity and lies (Pr 30:8). He begged for deliverance from the foolish and profitless ideas of men and the empty and worthless life this world offers. He asked the Lord to keep him from believing the deceitful lies of men. He knew that worldly opinions and activities were vain and vexing (Ps 119:113; Ecc 1:1-3; 12:8; Matt 6:24; I Tim 4:8; II Tim 3:1-5; Jas 4:4; I John 2:15-17).

What did Agur request? He then asked God to give him only convenient and modest success (Pr 30:8). He wanted to avoid both poverty and wealth, knowing that each brought its own set of temptations and trials (Pr 30:9). He did not pray against both for the carnal difficulties each could bring, but rather for their effect on His love of God. Riches could puff up his mind and turn him away from God (Pr 18:11; 28:11; I Tim 6:6-10), and poverty could lead him to steal and disgrace God’s name (Pr 1:10-19; 6:30-31).

These two requests were very wise and noble. Agur did not use prayer to satisfy his lusts, as most men do when they pray (Jas 4:3). He sought the glory of God, the truth, and the spiritual good of his soul, even if it meant sacrificing some success. As in Solomon’s case, obtaining wisdom to please God was more important than riches (I Kgs 3:5-13). As with Moses, reproach with God’s people was better than sinful pleasures (Heb 11:24-26).

Consider Agur’s aggressive prayer. First, he requested the things of the Lord. He did not merely suggest an idea or propose a thought; he demanded the blessing, like Jacob long before him (Gen 32:24-28). He was intensely serious about these requests, for he knew they were holy petitions. He then confessed his definite mortality, appealing to the immortal God for a speedy answer before his short life would be over (Ps 90:10-12). His prayer surely worked, for it was fervent in application and righteous in content (Jas 5:16).

Do you pray more for carnal things or spiritual things? When did you last pray for wisdom (Jas 1:5), a single heart to fear God (Ps 86:11), the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13), God to make you keep His precepts (Ps 119:35-37), or the Lord to expose your errors (Ps 139:23-24)? If loving and pleasing God is your highest priority, you will have spiritual prayer requests. If you put spiritual requests first, God in heaven will take care of the rest.

When did you last wrestle with God for these things, refusing to take no for an answer? Importunate and persistent prayers get answers; comfortable and quick prayers of convenience do not (Luke 11:5-13; 18:1-8; Rom 12:12; Eph 6:18). May the Holy Spirit of prayer convict you to greater praying and assist your efforts to do it (Rom 8:26-27).

Under Gods Command

2 Corinthians 10:1-6  1By the humility and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you—I, Paul, who am “timid” when face to face with you, but “bold” toward you when away! 2 I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. 3For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, I and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 6And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.

Paul’s opponents questioned his authority. From 7:8-16 we know that the majority of Corinthian believers sided with Paul. However, a minority continued to slander him, saying that he was bold in his letters but had no authority in person. Chapters 10–13 are Paul’s response to this charge.

We, like Paul, are merely weak humans, but we don’t need to use human plans and methods to win our battles. God’s mighty weapons are available to us as we fight against Satan’s “strongholds.” The Christian must choose whose methods to use—God’s or the world’s. Paul assures us that God’s mighty weapons—prayer, faith, hope, love, God’s Word, the Holy Spirit—are powerful and effective (see Ephesians 6:13-18)! These weapons can break down the proud human arguments against God and the walls that Satan builds to keep people from finding God.

Lets Bring it Home: When dealing with people’s proud arguments that keep them from a relationship with Christ, we may be tempted to use our own methods. But nothing can break down these barriers like God’s weapons.

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 16:7 When a man’s ways are pleasing to the LORD, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him. 

We want other people to like us, and sometimes we will do almost anything to win their approval.  But God tells us to put our energy into pleasing him instead.  Our effort to be peacemakers will usually make us more attractive to those around us, even our enemies.  But even if it doesn’t, we haven’t lost anything.  We are still pleasing God, the only one who truly matters.

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 9:06 Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of understanding.

Precious advice! Reject foolish friends and influences! Life, a blessed and peaceful life pleasing God and men, depends on it. Get away from all fools. Go in the way – choose the lifestyle – of understanding. Pursue a holy and righteous life, and let no one hinder or tempt you in any other direction. Your survival, and your family’s, is at stake. Foolish friends will take you down.

The single best thing you can do for yourself is to cut off fools and their evil influence. Bad company will drag you down and destroy your life, no matter how strong you think you are. If you want to live, really live, get away from fools, and choose a godly life of wisdom and understanding.
It is a simple concept – Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character. (I Cor 15:33).

Under Gods Command
Proverbs 16:7 When a man’s ways are pleasing to the LORD, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him.

We want other people to like us, and sometimes we will do almost anything to win their approval. But God tells us to put our energy into pleasing him instead. Our effort to be peacemakers will usually make us more attractive to those around us, even our enemies. But even if it doesn’t, we haven’t lost anything. We are still pleasing God, the only one who truly matters.