We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.
I Thessalonians 2:4b
My husband expressed that he really likes the scent of lemon that accompanies a clean house. I recently purchased a floor cleaner that had the lemon scent and could hardly wait to mop our floors. Can you imagine?
The day that was designated for house cleaning and hobbies finally rolled around, and I got right to the floors. I anxiously awaited his return to the house just to hear him applaud my efforts to meet his request. Drum roll….it never happened.
In my despair, I attempted to determine what I had done wrong and why my hard work was not compensated. I immediately thought of the other avenues in my life that lead to this same feeling of defeat, loss, and failure. I thought of things I did for my children that I felt would bring great joy, and they did not. I thought of my youth and the accomplishments that were so important to me, but did not affect my parents’ perception of who I was. Without a doubt, my profession in public education brought many experiences with this exact outcome, too. And, of course, I thought of God. What have I done in an effort to please Jesus that really was not what He expected of me to begin with?
With my daddy being a preacher, my entire life was spent going to church and serving God and His people. I have played the organ (that certainly shows my age) since I was 12 years old, and taught Sunday School, VBS, Bible studies, and been a youth sponsor on mission trips more times than I can count. The list could go on for an extended period of time, but my thoughts always go back to the original question. “Why?” What was my purpose in participating in this wide variety of activities and was my true intention honor God?
In I Thessalonians 2:4 Paul says “We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.” When we evaluate our self worth by our deeds and actions, the result is pride and legalism. John 12:42-43 explains how the Pharisees would claim to believe in God, but because they were fearful of being put out of the synagogue, they would not confess. “For they loved praise from men more than praise from God.”
It is perfectly OK that I wanted to do something to please my husband. However, if I was doing it for him to praise me rather than pleasing God, I had the wrong motivation. When we serve God, if we are wanting to be noticed by others, praised for our talents, rewarded for our deeds, then we are not pleasing God. As Christians, our focus should be on doing what God commands us to do. “ And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31
So this week, as you tend to your daily tasks with all your relationships (spouses, children, co-workers, family, church, etc.) keep your focus on what God’s purpose is in asking you to serve others and witness for Him.
Your Fellow Able Mom,
Dear God, our prayer is that every deed we attempt will be to honor you in our relationship with You. You are our motivation, our desire, and our God. Amen.
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