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Living to Please God

(Titus 2)

Lesson 13 -- first quarter 2006
February 26, 2006

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2006

God's delights

Since we are His children and in His image, and since we are His ambassadors, we ought to know what pleases God. And it is also important for us to develop similar delights. So let's explore the Scriptures a bit to discover some of God's delights.

"Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works" (Titus 2:14). Jesus died so that He might redeem and purify us. That makes us peculiar; that is, especially unique. He also has in mind that we have a burning zeal for doing good things. Thus the good works that spring from His redemption further brand us as unusual people in this world. He delights in seeing that!

"A just weight is his delight" (Proverbs 11:1). God delights in accuracy, consistency, and justice. God's people should be truthful and precise in their speech and in their business dealings. We should also exhibit constancy and dependability that other people can count on. The strict standards we would apply to others we should also apply to ourselves. We ought to shun bias and favoritism in our relationships, opting for even-handedness and personal acceptance toward all.

"They that deal truly are his delight" (Proverbs 12:22). God delights in those who, by their actions, choices, words, attitudes, and thoughts, reveal His truth and truthfulness. This delight resembles the just weight of Proverbs 11:1. However, that delight has to do with the principles of accuracy, consistency, and justice. The delight in this verse has to do with the practitioners of those principles. So review your dealings with others, making sure the just weight is the principle that guides and undergirds those dealings. Then rest in the assurance that you are God's delight. Imagine that!

"Such as are upright in their way are his delight" (Proverbs 11:20). God delights in those who choose to live by His standard of righteousness. In reading the accounts of God's dialogues with Satan in the book of Job, I sense God's delight in Job, an upright man. And God wants to delight in us that way also! So let's make sure the paths we choose each day are paths of uprightness. Let's embrace God's laws and precepts, loving and living them.

"The prayer of the upright is his delight" (Proverbs 15:8). God delights in the prayers of His delights. If that doesn't make sense to you, read Proverbs 11:20 again. God delights both in the upright individual and in the prayers of that individual. That certainly gives me a different perspective on my own praying. What about my praying is delightful to God, and what about my praying might be wearisome or irksome to Him?

"In these things I delight, saith the Lord" (Jeremiah 9:24). Reading a piece of a verse like that ought to make us anxious to know what particulars I left unquoted. Please read the rest of the verse. (At least one of those things is easily practiced at home.)

"He delighteth in mercy" (Micah 7:18). God delights in showing mercy. I think we can then also conclude that God finds pleasure when we show mercy toward others. In our homes, communities, and congregations we have myriad opportunities to show mercy. What an opportunity to bring joy and rejoicing to God now; don't miss it!

"Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt oferings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD?" (1 Samuel 15:22). God has great delight in obedience. No matter how much we can offer to Him and sacrifice for Him, the pleasure He derives from such service is far less than the pleasure brought to Him by a listening ear and an obedient heart. This ought to motivate us to obey in those areas which we already know. It also should move us to seek out new areas in which to obey. What a great opportunity to bring great delight to the Lord; let's not overlook it!

What a wondrous "project" we have, being His people and bringing Him pleasure (Psalm 147:11)!

Can I please God?

Perhaps you are frustrated with your inability to live up to God's standards for His children. Don't lose heart! He who has begun that good work in you will complete it. If the process of holy living weren't a gradual experience, what kind of sense could you make of the following verses?

"Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after..." (Philippians 3:12).

"Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6).

"Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God" (2 Corinthians 7:1).

Maturity, perfection, and holiness do not come instantaneously upon entrance of the Holy Spirit. God begins His work in us at that point and gradually, daily, surely, He reshapes us into His image. So you see, there is hope for us!

If we just look at the increase of sin and not beyond it, we really have no choice but to surrender to it. I prefer to consider more than the sin that surrounds. I have hope for me...and you -- we can live godly lives. Two verses are especially special to me in this matter:

"...But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound" (Romans 5:20).

"For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13).

Holy living in our day is a tough proposition, but no more difficult than it has ever been. So just because wealth is more attainable, divorce more common, materialism more entrenched, pleasure more available, perversion more rampant, and sexuality more flaunted today than in my grandfather's youth, that doesn't mean that true Christian living is more impossible for me than it was for him back then. God's grace is still more than sufficient. And God still works in His people, moving us to will and to do His pleasure. Yes!

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