Summary: This passage not only lets us know that it's possible to live a life that pleases God, it then goes on to share four things present in that kind of life.
MOVING PAST "I HOPE SO. . .": God has given us the opportunity and means to live a life that makes Him smile.
- Colossians 1:10 – “may please Him in every way”
- An interesting idea: living to make God smile.
- When you ask many people whether they’re going to heaven, their answer is “I hope so.”
- When you ask many people whether God is pleased with their life, their answer is “I hope so.”
- That’s a scary way to live. These matters are of the utmost importance: am I ok in the sight of God?; is God pleased with how I’m living my life?; what do I need to be doing to honor Him with my life? They’re far, far too important to leave to a wish and a prayer.
- Thankfully, through His Word God has shared with us His heart so that we don’t have to live with a vague hope. Having shared, we can know what things that we do will please His heart.
- I said that God has given us the opportunity and the means. Let’s unpack that.
a. The opportunity.
- In our natural condition, we are sinners. We have within our own strength and resources zero chance to become righteous. We have no chance at heaven. We have no chance at being righteous before God.
- Thankfully, a door has been opened. Through Christ’s death and resurrection, we have the opportunity to become one of God’s children. We have the opportunity to be declared righteous in His sight. Jesus took our sins upon Himself so that we could be forgiven. Jesus was raised from the dead so that we could be resurrected as well.
- Our decision to receive what Jesus has done for us makes God smile (Luke 15:7, 10, 22-23).
b. The means.
- Sometimes when talking about what God has done we quit at the opportunity to be saved. He’s done so much more than that.
- Not only can we be saved, we can also walk with Him and live for Him. He has given us a new heart (Romans 6:6-14) and given us the mighty Holy Spirit (Romans 8:1-17). He has given us all the resources we need to be able to live lives that honor and glorify Him.
- We often justify our sin by saying, “I’m just a sinner saved by grace.” Well, I was a sinner saved by grace, but at that moment of salvation I became a new creature in Christ. Who I really and most deeply am now is that new creation!
- God has not only saved me, but also given me the means to be able to live for Him.
- Two of the errors that we make when it comes to thinking of God smiling down upon us:
a. Some envision God as a scowling, grumpy, cantankerous old man who would never smile on anything.
b. Others envision God as friendly, absent-minded grandfather who doesn’t care how you live your life.
- We need to understand the Biblical truth: God can and wants to delight in us, but that doesn’t happen when we’re mired in our sin and rebellion from Him.
- It happens when we live a life that’s honoring to Him.
- This is similar to a human parent who deeply loves their child, but certainly can’t rejoice in the self-destructive behavior their child is exhibiting.
WHAT DOES THAT LOOK LIKE?
- Once you understand that it’s possible to please God, a second question immediately follows: what would that look like?
- Let’s talk for a second about some of the things that are not on the list.
- These are things that we often put a lot of emphasis on.
a. Acknowledging a list of doctrine.
- Many churches seem to define “belief” as “signing off on a list of doctrine.” True belief isn’t just a verbal assent. True belief leads to me changing my life because I’ve believed that Jesus is worth following.
b. Faithful church attendance.
- It’s not that this is not important – it’s that it’s more a consequence that happens automatically when the larger issues are in order.
c. Outward conformity.
- You’ve got to look like the rest of the church: Bible under your arm, no tattoos or piercings, fish on your bumper, etc.
- You know what to say in church, what words to avoid, what political allegiances to claim, what services you need to attend and which to skip, etc.
- Of course, none of that requires an inward change.
d. Special manifestations of the Spirit.
- In some churches, it all comes down to whether you possess one of the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit. If you can’t, say, speak in tongues, then you clearly aren’t pleasing God.