Strength To Live A Life Pleasing To God
God, Is My Life Pleasing to You?
This question helps me daily as we’re told in Galatians to “keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25). When I’m choosing to live according to my “flesh,” I’m choosing thoughts and activities that do not please God.
In Romans we’re told that the “mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace” but that “the mind governed by the flesh is death” (Romans 8:6).
I know that I can hardly trust my own ways as described in Proverbs 14:12 where even the wisest king wrote, “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.”
I know my capacity for self-deception and going my own independent way. I know that there’s a part of me—my flesh—that desires things contrary to God’s ways. As I meditate on Galatians 5:16–25, for example, I see examples of the acts of the sinful nature that still dwell inside of me.
As we grow in maturity in Christ, we’re able to more and more keep in step with the Spirit and turn from the flesh by the Holy Spirit’s power. But at no time are we living under condemnation.
In my early twenties, I lived under so much guilt and condemnation for the sinful choices I made though I was a believer. I was clearly—in many forms—living out the acts of my flesh.I could recite 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness,” but when I asked Jesus to forgive me, I didn’t really know how to experience that love and forgiveness.
I often quoted Romans 8:1 to myself that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Over and over again, I mentally repeated this truth.
When we’re seated with Christ, the difference is that Jesus is with us, and we are looking at our sin together. He is giving us power to change. He isn’t shaking His finger or turning His face away when we come to Him with a repentant heart. He’s ready to embrace us in the midst of our sin. He loves me. He loves you. He delights in us. We are seated in this delight and acceptance.
The question “Is there anything in my life that doesn’t please God?” is one designed to cleanse the heart and help us deeply abide with Jesus.
Since I know my sin grieves the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30) and that it harms my sweet intimacy with Jesus (Psalm 66:18), I carefully consider my attitudes and behaviors.
I’m also aware that sin brings “trouble and distress” into my life (Romans 2:9), so I’m eager to examine my heart for any areas of sin.
We know that, although we are saved from the punishment of sin and that our sins are not held against us, we still battle the sin nature within us. But Christ sympathizes with us in our struggle with sin (Hebrews 4:15). I am seated in Christ, together with all the saints and with a God who understands, and now I can examine my life to grow into godliness
Growing in godliness, however, requires knowledge of the ancient paths that God lays out. He designs life to work best within certain parameters, but many people do not know what these boundaries are. They don’t know how to live uprightly because the culture has so diluted what it means to live a godly life. We need help to understand these paths.Consider this wonderful promise from Isaiah 48:17: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.”
When I ask myself, “Is there anything in my life that doesn’t please God?” I’m asking God to show me what is best and to lead me into the right kind of living. I want a life “filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:11).
So I examine my life carefully and pray as David did:
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23–24)
Ask questions to help you discern
All day long, we’re assaulted with different messages from the media and culture that can distract us from God’s best ways. A few years ago, I compiled a list of ten questions to help me, Paul prays, “to discern what is best” (Philippians 1:10).
I want to know “what is best.” Here are some questions that guide my life even today:
1. Does this activity bring me closer to Jesus or further away?
2. Is this activity against the law or another authority?
3. Is this activity forbidden in Scripture?
4. Does this activity help others know Jesus?
5. Would I be embarrassed if Jesus arrived and saw me doing this thing?
6. Is this decision more ly to bring me into temptation or into godly choices?
7. Do people I respect and admire agree with this activity?
8. Does this activity bring me under its power where I can’t control myself?
9. How do I feel about myself and my relationship with God after doing this thing or being with this person?
10. Is the Holy Spirit saying no, and am I ignoring Him?
I’ve turned off certain movies, closed certain books, ended various dating relationships, took different jobs, stopped certain addictive behaviors, and even moved because of these questions. I hope they help you as you begin to make godly choices for your life.
Remember, you are accepted and loved by God
As we grow as Christians and learn to make these good choices, we must remember that we are always accepted and loved by Jesus.
To help direct my soul into these truths, I remember the day a mentor asked me, “How do you think God feels about you right now?” At the time, I said— so many of us might—that Jesus was surely embarrassed, disappointed, and sad about me.
Not true! I learned to take those condemning lies and say, “I know that Jesus is absolutely delighted by me. I am His chosen princess at the royal table.”If you ask women what God feels about them, I highly doubt you’ll receive this kind of answer from many. So many of us believe Jesus doesn’t really love us.
We imagine a frowning, angry, and disappointed face when we think of Jesus.
When did we start imagining Jesus as disappointed and ashamed of us? I began to wonder if we lose the truth as we age, so I asked a small child—my own daughter—the question.
I asked my younger daughter, “How do you think Jesus feels about you?”
She smiled and her eyes lit up as she answered quickly and without a bit of hesitation, “Oh, He is so happy about me!”
We need to recapture the little girl inside us who knows Jesus is so happy about us.
Because I’m seated in Christ, when I look at the ways I must change, I don’t feel condemned. I feel excited to grow. I feel thrilled that Jesus would continue to refine and shape me into His image.
Try sowing to please the Spirit
When I first began asking God the question, “Is there anything in my life that doesn’t please you?” the answers were obvious. I knew that many things about my life went against God’s word.
I felt the deep conviction of the Holy Spirit about various behaviors and attitudes. I confessed those things, and I began to avoid places and people that encouraged me to compromise.
I learned to sow to “please the spirit” instead of my flesh.
I read in Galatians 6:8 that “Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
” Sowing to please the Spirit meant doing things that helped develop the parts of my life that were God-honoring. It meant spending time in prayer and Bible study. It meant connecting with -minded people.It meant finding mentors who could help me grow and hold me accountable for temptation areas of my life. I learned to stop doing things that were “sowing to please my flesh” including certain books, movies, parties, and communities that only pushed me away from God.
I didn’t want anything to come between Jesus and me. I wanted, David prayed in Psalm 86:11, “an undivided heart” so I could praise God and walk closely with Him.
But is it worth it? Is a godly life that great that it outweighs the pleasures of sin? I will tell you this: Nothing—nothing!—compares with the peace of the Holy Spirit and knowing you are experiencing a close relationship with Jesus. Anything that would hinder you from God’s ways is a temporary happiness that will eventually reveal itself for what it is.
Enjoy the process
Think of Paul’s great question in Romans 6:21: “What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!” When I look back on my life, I can tell you that sin offers no benefit. It only brings pain and suffering and loss and shame.
But the times I spent journaling my thoughts to Jesus, praying, and studying my Bible? Those times have generated more wisdom, fruit, and well-being than you can imagine. God’s word, as it says in 1 Thessalonians 2:13 “continues to work in those who believe.
” God’s word will work within me to lead me away from sin and toward godliness.
Today, I love asking Jesus, “Is there anything in my life that doesn’t please You?” This is a joyful, not condemning or depressing process. I’m seated in Christ, covered by Christ’s righteousness, and fully accepted.
Therefore, the reason I aim to live a godly life isn’t a “works” mentality or any kind of legalism. It’s because I want to continue to allow God to shape me into a woman who’s more and more Jesus. My motivation isn’t to please God or to earn His favor; that’s already decided.
My motivation is to enjoy Jesus more and more and to allow His Holy Spirit to lead me into deeper freedom and intimacy with Jesus.
Heather Holleman, PhD, is the author of Seated With Christ: Living Freely in a Culture of Comparison. She is a speaker, writer, and college instructor and serves on the staff of Faculty Commons with Cru. Heather lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and their two daughters. To learn more about Heather, visit her at //livewithflair.blogspot.com/
This excerpt was taken from Seated with Christ: Living Freely in a Culture of Comparison, ©2015 by Heather Holleman. Used with permission of Moody Publishers. This article is part of a 3-question series, read Question 1: Is knowing Jesus better than anything? here and Question 2: Will I live the life God asks me to? here!
Discover Your Godly Strength
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Discover your Godly Strength
That’s right! No matter what you’re going through right now, you have certain characteristics that God has placed in you to serve and glorify Him. As a Believer in Jesus Christ, your life has deep meaning and you are called to worship the Lord through the Godly strengths He has blessed you with.
God Has Blessed You with Strengths That He Wants You to Explore, Understand, and Use!
Friend, we would to thank you for sharing your heart in prayer with us. Know that we are lifting your struggles up in prayer to our Messiah, Jesus Christ, and asking that God move and breakthrough in powerful ways within your life.
It is the heart of our mission at Curt Landry Ministries to encourage and assist Believers in carrying out their God-given purpose of spreading the Gospel and bringing restoration through a deeper understanding of the Jewish roots of our faith until the day of Messiah’s return. This encouragement comes through praying for your specific needs, as well as enhancing your understanding of your strengths as a Believer.
The simple fact is, God breathed life into you and set you on this earth for a very specific and profound purpose.
Not only that, but…
You Have Already Been Equipped with the Godly Characteristics You Need to Live a Life of Purpose and Passion!
It can be easy to get bogged down in life with all the things you feel you’re doing wrong. As human beings, we truly are our own worst critics.
However, by dwelling on the parts of yourself you deem “unworthy,” “messed up,” and “unlovable,” you miss out on the beautiful things God has placed within the deepest parts of you. The characteristics that are a reflection of His heart of grace, love, and mercy that He has given you to produce a meaningful life!
When you fully understand your unique Godly characteristics, you can use them to change the world for good, experience greater fulfillment, and enjoy the Lord’s blessings in serving Him well.
The real beauty is…
We Form One Body in Christ, but We Each Have Different Gifts.
According to Romans 12:4-6, “For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them.”
While we all have been blessed with unique strengths, we are called to use them to serve the same Lord.
Just a few of the Godly characteristics the Bible explores include:
Regardless of what areas you feel challenged in, or how much you criticize and compare yourself to others, the reality is…
As a member of the Body of Messiah, you have a unique and God-given gift to share with the world!
And today, we want to help you explore it so that you can find hope, encouragement, and greater purpose in your spiritual life!
Discover How God Wants to Use Your Greatest Strength for His Glory Today!
Right now, there is one Godly characteristic, or area of giftedness, in which you feel strongest.
We have put together a single-question survey for you to identify this strength and gain a better understanding of how God will use it for greatness within His Kingdom.
Remember: You are deeply loved and cherished by our Father who has gifted you so that you might live a life of meaningful service that fills you with joy and glorifies His name. We invite you to take a few moments to complete this survey to explore your strongest Godly characteristic.
After answering the question in this survey, you will receive:
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- And more… all 100% tailored to your specific strength!
We hope that by exploring these Godly characteristics, and the accompanying verses that we will be sharing with you, that these will help spur you on to be the person God intentionally designed you to be from the very beginning!
Identify Your Strongest Godly Characteristic and Submit Your Answer to Receive Biblical Wisdom to Encourage and Help You Use Your Strengths to Glorify God