The Way To Please God–Part 2

James Smith 90x115by James Smith

8. If we would please God—we must watch and strive against inward sin. If sin has power in the heart—it will rule in the life. And if sin is not watched over, confessed before God, and daily pardoned by God—it will rule in our mortal bodies. God hates nothing—but sin. Nothing offends God—but sin. And no sin offends him—like the sin of his own children. If we indulge in any sin, we cannot please God, nor shall we be allowed to enjoy communion with God. But sin is always indulged—if it is not sought out, dragged to the cross, and exposed before God’s throne. In vain do we talk of pleasing God—if we do not watch against our besetting sins, and strive to overcome them in strength derived from God. O for more tenderness of conscience, for more hatred to hidden sin, and for more jealous watchfulness over the evils that lurk in our hearts!

9. If we would please God—we must be zealous in his cause. God identifies himself with his cause on earth. His honor is involved in it. He glorifies himself by it. He requires us to view it—as he does, feel toward it—as he does, and act in it—as he does. He hates indifference and lukewarmness. He loves to see life, energy, determination, and zeal. How then can he be pleased with us—if we think more of our own interest than his? How then can he be pleased with us—if we do more for our own gratification—than for his glory? How then can he be pleased with us—if we if we are lively in the world, and indifferent in the church? How then can he be pleased with us—if we if we are zealous for gold—but careless about godliness? It cannot be! Phineas was commended, and received the promise of an everlasting covenant, because he was zealous for his God; and Laodicea was threatened and punished because it was lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold.

10. If we would please the Lord—we must carefully avoid what displeases him; especially, loving the present world. This caused the apostasy of Demas, and has ruined thousands besides. Therefore the apostle John wrote to the brethren, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world; if any man loves the world—the love of the Father is not him.”

And what is in the world? Wealth, honor, pleasure. Christians are not of the world, even as Jesus was not of the world. They are therefore called upon to come out of it, and be separate from it. They should be influenced by other principles, walk by other rules, and seek higher and holier ends. When we are on terms of friendship with the world, imbibing its spirit, adopting its maxims, and enjoying its pursuits—then we displease God, for “the friendship of the world is enmity with God; if any man is the friend of the world—he is the enemy of God.”

So also, when we grieve the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Comforter is grieved whenever we indulge in any sin, encourage low thoughts of Christ, or lose sight of the great end of our vocation.

Once more, when we indulge in sloth and self-indulgence. How many are slothful now! How much self-indulgence prevails among professors now! How little mortifying of the flesh, putting off the old man, or being crucified with Christ, do we witness now! How many walk on the very margin of Christian liberty—and how many step over the boundary line! Yet it is said by the Apostle, “If you live after the flesh—you shall die; but if you, through the Spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body—you shall live!”

11. Finally, if we would please the Lord—we must in all things aim at his glory. For this purpose he created us at first, and for this purpose he redeemed us, at the expense of the life of his Son. Therefore he says to us, “You are not your own, you are bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your bodies, and in your spirits which are God’s.” And to show that this is to be carried out into all the circumstances of every day life, he says, “Wherefore, whether you eat, or drink, or whatever you do—do all to the glory of God.” God’s glory is therefore to be consulted in everything.

In the provisions of the table, in the active duties of life, in our dress, in our pleasures, down to the minutest particular, we should aim at God’s glory. This is the way to be holy, and this is the way to be happy. How many evils would be avoided, how many dangers would be escaped, and how many temptations would be overcome—if we were in the habit of asking before we act, “Will this glorify God?” determined if it will not, to refuse to engage in it. Then, yes then, shall we please God, when every purpose is formed, every plan laid, every purchase made, and every engagement entered into, with a view to the glory of God.

Observe, God is easily pleased, if our spirit is filial. As the human parent is pleased with a mere trifle from a child, if it manifests an affectionate disposition, and a desire to please—just so is our heavenly Father. We cannot be happy, if the grace of God is in our hearts, unless our ways please God. This is impossible, because there will be no sweet communion, no refreshing communications, no cheering smiles, no witnessing of the Spirit in our hearts. The grand object to be pursued by us, is pleasing God. On this, our heart should be set. In this, should all our efforts tend. For this purpose, should everything be done.

If we have the inward consciousness that we are pleasing God—we need not fear anyone or anything. What can harm you—if you be followers of that which is good. When a man’s ways please the Lord—he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. Sweet must have been the satisfaction of Jesus when he testified to the Jews concerning the Father, “I do always those things that please him.” Precious, also, was the testimony borne to Enoch before his translation, that “he pleased God.” If God is pleased with me—let the world frown upon me, let Nature be convulsed around me, let the most terrible visitations be witnessed by me—my heart shall not fear—but with one of old will I say, “Therefore will we not fear though the earth is removed, and the mountains are carried into the midst of the sea;” for if God is pleased with me—it must be well with me, and well forever!

But no unconverted sinner can possibly please God; for it is written, “So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” No, there must first be faith in Christ, submission to the righteousness of God, reconciliation through the blood of the cross, and an entire surrender to a sovereign God. Regeneration is not only necessary to prepare and make us fit for heaven—but it is equally necessary to enable us to please God on earth. Reader, you must be born again, for if you are not, God is displeased with everything you do—and everything you say! Your very tears and prayers call for his righteous wrath. It is only by fleeing to Jesus and receiving Christ as God’s free gift, that God will be pleased with you, listen to you, and richly bless you.

by James Smith