Word of the Week: Pleasing

A useful tool for getting ahead, building a great reputation, and driving yourself nuts, pleasing others is a temptation.

Personally, I have been facing this temptation rather obviously. The recent struggle has required me to either strive to please a certain person or act according to what God says is right. I’m reaping some very frustrating consequences due to not pleasing said person.

Yet I’m glad for this, thanking the Lord even in the unpleasant.

Galatians 1:10 challenges you and I:

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Broken down…

Step 1: Trying

Trying to please people starts with striving and intending. It begins in our hearts when we shape our thoughts in pursuit of getting the approval or acceptance of others.

Step 2: To Please

Biblos.com defines the action:

pleasing def

Pleasing someone requires action (or inaction) in accordance with that person’s wishes. It is acting as they would like you to. Just as a servant would do.

Step 3: People

The first two steps happen in order; we strive to please. It’s this last bit where we make a clearer choice.

Choosing “people” isn’t the better option. “People” means not God.

Our striving, working, and serving are all to be unto the Lord. That is what is best for us and what brings Him glory.

Just as money and God cannot both be our masters, other people and God cannot both be those we submit to. Other people and God have far too many competing purposes, directions, and methods for us to obey both simultaneously. His way ultimately wins out in the end.

Start on the winning side. Begin with the trying to please God. Sometimes (often!) He asks us to do things that will also please other people. It’s lovely. Just be prepared to make the choice when called upon.

As I can attest far too well at the moment: choosing God over man is always worth it, but man doesn’t tend to react well. Thankful the Lord approves, gives grace, and can even work in those “others” who are displeased with me.

This post will also be shared on: #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #Intentionally Pursuing, #WomenWithIntention, #TellHiStory, #SittingAmongFriends, #Thought-Provoking Thursday, #DanceWithJesus, #LLMLinkup and #SoulSurvivalLinkup.

18. BEHOLD: The Re-arranger

There are certain things required, in many people’s minds, to build the perfect Christmas. From the tree to the gifts to the food to the company, every piece fits just so to create beloved traditions and memories.

To make it all fit, couches get pushed back. Coat racks get cleared off the rack. Space is made on crowded counters for jars of cookies. Some people give up their beds for a night or two. Some people travel by donkey to far off towns while pregnant and end up giving birth in a stable.

From the very first Christmas, re-arranging was a part of welcoming Christ in the world.

“God, who is enthroned from of old, who does not change— he will hear them and humble them, because they have no fear of God.”

–Psalm 55:19

Christ’s coming to the world brought to us salvation, hope, and eternal joy. For those in the Bible, and for us today, Christ also brings humility as He does not change, but our plans and ideas must. When the Spirit comes to live is us, we ought to:

“Pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.”

Ephesians 3:16-17

As is the case any one settling into a dwelling place, Christ dwelling in our hearts rearranges. He humbles us, as mentioned. There’s also a strengthening, and an empowering. He creates in us purer hearts and sets up a battle station against our flesh.

Sometimes, His rearranging extends to our circumstances and our plans. Like Scripture says, we plot our own way, but He establishes our steps. To live well through all this sort of re-arranging, we need to be flexible.

Being flexible is a Godly trait when flexibility means being open to anything God gives, regardless of what it requires from us.

If the Lord has to re-arrange our priorities, take it as a good gift. If making room for Him to settle deeper into our hearts means tossing out some of those secret, sneaky, “less-bad” sins, we can have the flexibility of faith and respond with “thank you.”

Behold, the deep-cleaning of the Lord through re-arranging.

Behold, the re-ordering to restore order to the world and to each of our hearts.

Behold, the gift of godly flexibility, given through faith in Christ.

Not Getting Ahead of God

Photo from: leculentrelesdeuxchaises.wordpress.com

From where you are standing, there is much ahead. It might be a ton of busy, crazy, chaotic, and rewarding. Maybe the future is daunting. On the other hand, when you look ahead, you might see a whole bunch of nothing or vast space that could be filled with –who knows?

God does.

You want to be where He wants you to be. If you’re anything like me -and most everyone I know- getting where you should be is a priority.

It’s not always about “getting ahead” or “getting more,” but simply growing or following well. You know God has plans for you and sometimes it seems like a lot to keep up with. You don’t want to avoid the step He asks for next, so you prepare yourself as best you can for it.

The decisions you make at work are made with intentions for the future in mind. You choose to take classes, read books, and meet people now so that later you will be equipped for what you think (or dream) will happen. We want to be where God wants us to be, when He calls, without hesitation. It gets stressful, doesn’t it?

Worry is all about tomorrow.  Fear is most powerful in the future tense. God is in the present. And when the present turns into the future, He’ll be there too.

God is not 3 steps ahead of you, waiting for you to catch up. He is with you now.

Though it is wise to open your eyes to bigger picture or your life and to prepare yourself appropriately, the decisions you make now –including those about your future- should be made as He asks.

That future that you think you know too little about or too much about cannot separate you from the love of Christ. Neither can the present (Romans 8:38.) When the Psalmist said that “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble,” He did mean that God is even present in our present life, concerns, and matters (Psalm 46:1.)

Paul testified to this truth in Acts 26:22, saying “To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great.Imagine speaking those words when you question what your future holds –or when others ask and you don’t know.

Speak this truth to yourself and to others as worry and planning and looking forward keep your eyes off of Him who is all the way up there –and also right here with you.

This post is being shared on: #TestimonyTuesday, #RaRaLinkupIntentionally Pursuing,Titus2sday, and Thought-Provoking Thursday.