Friday, April 5, 2013

THE AUDIENCE OF ONE

I have heard it said those who Wow their audiences are called "crowd-pleasers".  To attain that title one has to have a certain personality.  It seems to me, in this life we can either be a "me-pleaser",  a "crowd-pleaser", or a "God-pleaser".  I am striving for the last one!

The "Me-Pleaser" deals with The Self.  This person does not have a place for others and surely not God in his/her life.  The "Crowd-Pleasers" are service driven people.  They have no time for self and usually seek the immediate gratification of the crowd as their reward.  So, God in this equation does not really work out either.  Finally, those that consider themselves "God-Pleasers" do not keep the crowd's interest or their own interest at heart.  One's selfish ambitions should take back seat to loving God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength (Mark 12:30) if God-pleasing is the life-goal.

Who do you want to please?  Is it you, others, or God?  Pleasing yourself is usually limited in time and space and has no eternal value associated with it.  Pleasing the crowd is a temporary high that has to be re-visited over and over again to fill that void or desire.  Pleasing God?  Well, let us assume your answer is this last one and dive a little deeper here.

As a Believer in The Lord Jesus Christ, do you want to know what will please God?  I hope you do because Ephesians 5:10 encourages this study - "...find out what pleases the Lord."  

Enoch had this down as his lifestyle.  Can you imagine having a relationship so close with God and God being so pleased with you THAT He decided to allow you to skip death and take you to Paradise to reside with Him?

  • "Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away." - Genesis 5:24


  • "By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God." - Hebrews 11:5  

Now here is a good example and goal to strive for, eh?

Things That Please God

1.  Don't be a stumbling block to others
Anyone who serves Christ through righteousness, peace, and joy under the direction of the Holy Spirit is living Kingdom life, is pleasing to God, and is approved by men. [Pritchard Paraphrase of Romans 14:17-18]  The context of this verse is a passage of Scripture that deals with Believers in Christ Not being stumbling blocks for other Believers.  To Not be a stumbling block is something that pleases God and will come as a result of serving Christ through righteousness, peace, and joy by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:13-23).

2.  Monetary support of a well respected brother in the faith - Philippians 4:18.
In fact, the support is viewed as "a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God."

3.  Family Care
A widow with children and grandchildren taking care of her family is also pleasing to God (1 Timothy 5:4).  

  • "But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God."

4.  Do Good and Share with Others
Sometimes doing good does not come easy for us.  Sharing with others can also be a test.  In this world of me/self, pleasing God and blessing others takes a back seat.  This is why when we do the "good" thing or "share with others" God recognizes our efforts in these areas as "sacrifices" and is pleased.  Hebrews 13:16 says it like this -  "And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased."

5.  Pray for Leaders and Authorities Over You
1 Timothy 2:1-3 says, Request, pray, and intercede for everyone and then get specific with kings/presidents and all other authority figures that may be overseeing a part of your life.  Do this, So That a peaceful, quiet, Godly, and Holy life may be obtained.  This pleases God (so pray).  [Pritchard paraphrase]

6.  God-pleasing men escape this kind of woman  

  • "I find more bitter than death the woman who is a snare, whose heart is a trap and whose hands are chains. The man who pleases God will escape her, but the sinner she will ensnare." - Ecclesiastes 7:26

7.  Pleased with Virtue/Honor
"I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity." - 1 Chronicles 29:17  
This gives us another target to aim at in our daily walk with God and pleasing Him.

Not pleasing God to me is very similar to the feeling I got when I was growing up and knew I disappointed my mom or dad.  The disappointment tore me up inside something fierce!  My heart, stomach, and soul ached tremendously.  It was worse than any spanking I might have gotten (and I didn't get that many).  But, the reverse is also true!  Anytime I especially made them proud by following directions or going above and beyond and pleasing my parents, they let me know their appreciation and I desired to stay in that groove.


Benefits of A God-Pleaser!

  • Ecclesiastes 2:26 says, "To the man who pleases him [God], God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God."  

Do you see how the man who pleases God receives a double portion of blessing from God?  First God blesses the "God-Pleaser" with "wisdom, knowledge and happiness", then God has "wealth" handed over to the "God-Pleaser" from a sinner who had the task of "gathering and storing" it up for this purpose.  Wow!  It is doubly good to please God!

Pleasing God or my parents is mainly about approval.  Jesus was approved by His Heavenly Father - "For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." - 2 Peter 1:17  In fact, Father God said this twice in Scripture - at Jesus' Baptism and at Jesus' Transfiguration.  However, our approval from Father God is not gained by our own actions or words or pleasing God but through faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrificial love-gift of salvation to us.  Notice how Father God first said to Jesus in the verse above - "whom I love" - before He mentions performance  - "with Him I am well pleased".  I believe the pattern is the same with true Believers.  Father God accepts us as sons and daughters in Love first, then concerns Himself with our pleasing Him.

Believers are found throughout Scripture to be "in Christ".  Romans 8:1 is one of those Scriptures. "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,"  Father God sees us as having the complete benefit package of being one with Christ or Christlike.  This does not mean we place pleasing God on the shelf upon becoming a Believer.  Once you are a Believer you should desire to please Him all the more for His endless provision and His many blessings - seen and unseen.

So, who is your audience?  The correct audience should be a population of One - The Lord God Almighty.  If He is The One who truly matters and if He is the One that you are trying to please, then all the other pieces of life will operate as they should.  Again, your thoughts, words, and actions toward pleasing God after your Salvation should be based on the gratitude of that Salvation.  From that heart of humble gratitude can come a life containing -

  1. A mind/body submitted to God's control. - Romans 12:1-2 
  2. Righteous, peaceful, and joyful service to Christ that does not create a stumbling block for other Believers. - Romans 14:13-23
  3. Money to help support a Biblically sound outreach or ministry. - Philippians 4:18
  4. The increased ability to do good and share with others. - Hebrews 13:16
  5. Integrity. - 1 Chronicles 29:17
  6. Focus on God, which keeps certain types of women away from God-seeking men. - Eccl. 7:26
  7. A double portion blessing from God. - Eccl. 2:26
Finally, pleasing the audience of One - The Lord - will one day grant me and each Believer the privilege of hearing Him say, "'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'" - Matthew 25:21