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January 16, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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“But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.”—1 Thessalonians 2:4 (NKJV)
I am totally enamored with Jesus. As John tells us in his gospel account, Jesus always did those things that pleased the Father (John 8:29). For me, I’ve always felt that struggle between pleasing men and pleasing God.
Yet God could not be any clearer about it. From the Old Testament to the New, God shows us why our desire to please Him should far outweigh our desire to please others. Don’t get me wrong, we should prefer others over ourselves (Romans 12:10), and Jesus showed us how to do that in His ministry as he consistently went out of His way and humbled Himself in order to show us how to love one another. But today’s verse takes us deeper in determining how to please God. If we look at what had happened in Paul’s life at the time he wrote this letter, we gain incredible insight into how we can please God.
Paul was barraged by people who not only questioned his authority, but his motives and state of mind. Sound familiar? Of course! It’s what Jesus experienced and what Christians today undergo in their witness. It would have been easier for Paul to only say the things people wanted to hear rather than declare the fact that without Christ they would never please God (Romans 8:8).
That’s why today’s verse is crucial to remember as we deliver the gospel message. When we connect it with what Jesus said in John 8:29, we see that God is with us; He has approved and entrusted us to share the kindest message ever given to mankind. Neither Jesus nor Paul allowed suffering or fear to waver them from the truth; instead they relied on the “power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16 NIV).
The message is beautifully clear: to be in Christ pleases God. Having a heart for God and boldness in His truth pleases Him. To prefer the salvation of others over our fear of rejection pleases Him. To endure shame and suffering, knowing we are entrusted by God to proclaim repentance and faith in Jesus Christ pleases Him.
More beautiful is that God is totally enamored with you, for He has given you truth. And He has no greater joy than to hear that His children walk in truth (3 John 1:4).
Dig: Read John 11:45–52.
Discover: Think about the impact the fear of man over the fear of God had on the nation.
Display: Is there an area in your life that you fear would be impacted if you stood bold in the truth? Pray and ask for God to help you give that fear to Him and walk in truth.
Lisa Supp lives in Utah and has served within the CCFL Web and Prayer Ministry since 2011. She also volunteers as an editor on the CCFL Prayer Wall and is a writer on the Communications Team. Retired from teaching, Lisa and her husband Ron volunteer at their local Calvary Chapel and share a passion for Scripture, apologetics, and education.