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How Can You Know If You Are Pleasing God (John 8:21-30)?
“I’m cleaning up my room,” says Joseph, 5. “People need room to walk so they don’t trip. I’m not hurting anyone and that makes God happy!”
Whether you’re 5 years old or 50, cleaning your room is always a challenge. It reminds me of what Phyllis Diller said, “Housework can’t kill you, but why take a chance?”
“You need to be kind to your neighbors who are anyone you see, or also your enemies,” says Sammy, 8.
Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God, but the second greatest (love your neighbor as yourself) is like the first (Mark 12:29-31). Did you ever wonder how loving your neighbor is like loving God? Also, does this include the neighbor who plays his stereo too loud or revs his motorcycle at 1:00 a.m?
Loving your neighbor and liking your neighbor are two different things. God never commands us to like our neighbor. I don’t have to like my neighbor, his loud music or inconsiderate behavior to love him. All I have to know is that God loves my neighbor.
I know from the Bible that my neighbors are created in God’s image even though that image is tarnished because of sin. Nevertheless, Christ suffered and died for all my neighbors, even the ones who openly rebel and shake their fists in his face.
Do I in myself have the capacity to love my neighbor as myself? I do not.
As a Christian, there is someone living in me who knows exactly how to love my neighbors. The Apostle Paul referred to this heavenly inhabitant as “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). Not only is the indwelling Christ the hope of future glory for every Christian, he’s also that hope of sanity in this present life.
Let’s face it. There are some people who don’t like you, and there’s not a lot you can do to change their opinion. In some situations, loving your neighbor might mean you refrain from retaliating against a neighbor’s intentional behavior to get under your skin.
It pleases God when you allow him to love people through you that you don’t even like. It’s easy to love people you like. It’s the stinkers that will push you to rely on God’s power and resources.
Only God can love stinkers. After all, he loves you and me. Before God, we’re all stinkers. Our area of stink may differ, but that doesn’t make the stink any less offensive to a holy God.
“I know I am pleasing God when I set the table for dinner, when I help my mom with her shopping and when I do my chores,” says Avery, 7.
Yes, even the mundane become opportunities to please God when you’re living life empowered by the Lord. Here’s how the Apostle Paul described living under an open heaven: “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,” (Colossians 3:23).
Think about this: Sometimes people think of pleasing God only as something huge like hearing God’s call to serve him on a distant mission field. Most of the time, pleasing God comes in the form of the ordinary. If you live life before an open heaven, the ordinary is transformed into the extraordinary. You’re living to please God, not trying to just get through the day.
Memorize this truth: Colossians 3:23 previously quoted.
Ask this question: As a Christian, have you allowed Christ’s indwelling presence to transform your ordinary world into a wonderland full of opportunities to please God?
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