Context: 1 Thessalonians 4: 1-18
Focus: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
“As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.” 1 Thessalonians 4: 1 (my emphasis)
Paul urges the Thessalonians to live a life that pleases God, and to be holy by staying away from all sexual sin, especially violating another believer’s wife, where, therefore, God will avenge such sin as He has warned them before. He has called us to live pure lives, holy lives, therefore, if anyone refuses to live by these rules is not rejecting human teachings but is rejecting God who gives His Holy Spirit to those who believe in His Son, Jesus Christ.
In this life we have the choice of pleasing ourselves, others, or God. What pleases God is contrary to what pleases our flesh and what pleases and finds favor with mankind.
I learned early as a child, following my conversion, the cost of pleasing God instead of trying to appease others. I found myself no longer wanting to lie, and practice things that I formerly had no problem with. Soon, those around me noticed the change and were happy for me because the presence of God’s Holy Spirit naturally and sincerely flowed with love towards them. But when I could no longer compromise when it came to keeping His Word, attitudes towards me changed. I was called a “goody, goody, and those closest to me became angry. Once, my brother asked me to lie to his friend who came to the door to see him. He didn’t want to bother with his friend. By the time I got to the door to tell his friend, he was not there, I was convicted by the Holy Spirit. Instead of lying, I told the truth, and got in a lot of trouble with my brother, who was angry. I soon saw how pleasing God instead of pleasing others cost me being accepted by them. Also, when I was convicted about doing something wrong myself, it was a struggle, if it was something I enjoyed doing. I would try to justify it and thus the struggle would ensue, until I submitted to myself or the Holy Spirit. Paul speaks about this very struggle of trying to please God instead of self. (Romans 7: 15-20)
During Jesus’ ministry here on earth, the Father confirmed to all those who were listening how He was pleased with His Son. When Jesus came out of the water during His baptism, a voice was heard from heaven, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased”. Again, during His transfiguration, a voice from heaven spoke again, “This is my beloved Son, whom I am well pleased, listen to Him!”. During the transfiguration Jesus was talking with Moses and Elijah, representative of the law and the prophets, which Jesus fulfilled. God was saying, Jesus is the One which was spoken about through my Word, now, listen to His Words.
When Jesus suffered, was bruised and crushed on the cross for our sakes, God was pleased with His Son. He had surrendered Himself to heaven and on earth to please the Father so that we would not experience God’s wrath. And, in that hour, the Father could not have been more pleased to call Him His beloved Son.
Whenever we resist sin, and submit to the Holy Spirit, or choose to lay down our pride, our wants, our desires for another, the Lord is so pleased we can feel His hand upon us and the joy that comes as a result.
“I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart.” Psalm 40:8
Dear Lord, let me live a life pleasing you rather than myself, so I can feel your pleasure, here and forevermore.
CR – Romans 8:8, Romans 12:2, Ephesians 5:17, 2 Timothy 3:1-5, Luke 8:14,
2 Corinthians 5:9, 1 Thessalonians 2:4, Acts 5:29, Exodus 1:17, Daniel 6:13,
Acts 4:19, Matthew 3:17, Matthew 17:5, Isaiah 53: 10
Deuteronomy 27:1-8 Deuteronomy 11: 18-21