Friday, January 2, 2015

A Faith That Pleases God

                We make faith much more difficult than it is sometimes, I think. I know for me personally, this has been an area of struggle since the day I became a Christian. Sometimes I think we listen to too many voices when the only voice we need to be heeding is the voice of our God.  Not only am I my own worst critic, but I take to heart what other people tell me and many times their words end up knocking me off the path the Lord has been leading me down. Instead of just trusting what I believe He is telling me, I talk to other people and find out their opinions too. This usually ends up leaving me confused, frustrated and unsure of the next step I need to take. But the Lord showed me today that if I seek to please Him, then I must stop seeking the approval of man.  
                “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6
                Without faith we cannot please God. Faith is what allowed us to see and believe the salvation that God has sent for us in His Son, Jesus Christ. It is through our faith in what God has done through Jesus Christ that allows us to come to God without hindrance, or ceremony, or sacrifice. It is because of faith that we can bend our knees and ask for His help, and He answers our pleas. It is through faith that we believe in the provisions for our every day needs. It is through faith that we believe that there is a place waiting for us in the heavens, a place that He has prepared for us. But when our faith starts to seek to please others instead of God, we become tossed to and fro in utter confusion about who we are in Him and what He desires to do in our lives. We begin to take our eyes off of His purposes and start to focus on what man thinks we should be doing.  
                Let me explain myself, in case you are having a hard time following my train of thoughts today. Hebrews 11 is the “Hall of Faith”. We see men and women who stepped out into the unknown and fulfilled the work and the purposes that God had for them. We read about Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abram, Sarah, Isaac, Moses, and so on. The list of men and women who desired to please God through faith is endless, but the one that I want to focus on today is Noah.
                Hebrews 11:7 tells us that Noah was “divinely warned of things not yet seen”. But Noah, “moved with godly fear, prepared an ark or the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.” Noah was told by God that a great flood was going to come upon the earth and to be saved from this devastating flood Noah was to build an ark. (You can read the full account in Genesis 6-7) Now, had Noah sought to please his family and friends, the ark probably would have never been built. But Noah desired to please God. It was Noah’s faith in what God spoke to him personally that pleased God, not in what he did.
              
  Think about it. There had not been a drop of rain to fall upon the earth yet. No one living had ever seen, felt, or even heard of what rain was. Yet Noah believed God that it was so, so he began to build an ark. Can you imagine what the people in his community was saying to him? Some commentators portray Noah as being ridiculed, laughed at, told he was out of his mind, and many of his friends most likely departed from him. But Noah paid no mind to what others were saying, he was only faithful to complete what God had asked him to do. It was not the building of the ark that pleased God, but it was Noah’s faith and confidence in God’s word to him. If Noah had listened to the people around him the ark would not have been built and Noah and his family would have been wiped out with the flood. But Noah believed God, believed His word to him, and sought to only please Him, not others.
                We all have something that God has asked us to do in faith. Whether it is to share His gospel with someone we work with, or perhaps to start a ministry, or write that book you have been putting off. Whatever it is that God has asked you to do; we must do it in faith, seeking to please God and God alone. There are always going to be those people that tell you it can’t be done. There are always going to be those people who tell you it’s not worth it, or you have too much going on in your life right now to start something like that. There will always be someone, and that someone may even be your husband, your children, your best friend, maybe even your pastor; but deep in your heart you know that God wants you to do it. We must be confident in His word to us and seek to please Him alone. Otherwise all we will end up doing is living our life for people, instead of God.
                To please man we have to accommodate our own self to their opinions, their ideas, their wants, desires and interests. We have to compromise, and bend and mold ourselves to what they want, what they think is right. But to please God we must have a commitment to all that He is and all that He asks of us. To please God we only have to be committed to Him and His word- He does the rest. Look at Noah. All he did was build the ark, the Lord did everything else. If we strive to be pleasing to God, then we must have faith. Faith in His word, faith in His ability, and faith that no matter what others think, do or say, our God can accomplish the work He began in us.

                I know what it is that God is asking of me to do, and there have been a few that have tried to dissuade me from following this desire, this dream that God has confirmed in me. The only thing stopping me is myself, and my desire to please others instead of seeking to please God. Let us not forget what the writer of Hebrews has said to us, that it is impossible to please God without faith, but when we have that kind of faith and we diligently seek to please Him and Him only, He will reward us. We must be confident that He who began this good work in us will complete it also. (Philippians 1:6)

                I do not know where you are today in your walk, or how you came across this blog of mine. But I do know that if you have been reading it, it is because the Lord wants you to stop listening to the voices around you and just have faith to listen to His. Noah pleased God because he listened to His voice and not the voices of the people around him. Let us be bold enough to listen to His voice today, and stop seeking man’s approval. Let us instead be a seeker who seeks to please God. In Jesus’ Name, amen and amen.