“Dear brothers and sisters,
we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus
to live in a way that pleases God. . .
You live this way already,
and we encourage you to do so even more.”
1 Thessalonians 4:1 NLT
1 Thessalonians 4:1 NLT
Since this is the beginning of a new year, I thought it might be a good idea to talk about making a fresh start with some things we know are pleasing to God. For instance, most of us read our Bibles and pray – that’s good - and that is pleasing to God.
But the question that creeps into my mind this time of year is: “Am I pleasing God more today than I did a year ago?” And it makes me feel uncomfortable, because it requires some heart searching, and implies that I may need to make some changes.
Slacking off in our devotional life comes about without any effort. It just happens if we aren’t careful. On the other hand, being more faithful requires conscious effort. It means setting new priorities and carrying them out. Reading God’s Word and praying is so elementary and yet so absolutely essential to a life that is pleasing to God. That’s how we have conversation with Him - He speaks to us and we speak to Him.
I find reading the same translation year after year causes me to become so familiar with the phrases that I have a tendency to pay less attention to the meaning. Reading a different translation helps me to hear God in a fresh and more meaningful way.
I don’t know about you, but my prayer life needs improving. I have a tendency to barge into God’s presence with requests, and more requests. This year I need to take to heart more what Psalm 100:4 says - “Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name.”
James 1:22 brings us to the bottom line in this matter of living lives that are more and more pleasing to God. His exhortation is “Don’t just listen to God’s word, BUT DO WHAT IT SAYS. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.”To live a life that is increasingly pleasing to God is not accomplished by one GIANT step. It takes a lot of LITTLE steps, day after day, after day. It takes persistence.
Father, you alone are worthy of all praise and adoration. Thank you for your invitation to come boldly into your presence. Thank you for your Word which shows us how to live. Help us to more faithfully put it into practice, bringing you more pleasure day after day.
If today’s scripture and remarks have been meaningful to you – don’t hesitate to leave a comment. (Single space gives best appearance.)
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