Does Your Life Please God?
By: Elizabeth Lewis*
Even though my blog/ career/ way of living comes from a Christian perspective, I don’t often quote scripture or try to appear as too “religiousy” (although, I’m OK with that label because I AM very spiritual). I read an article today, by Heather Holleman*, that resonated with me and I wanted to share it with you. Some of the ideas/thoughts expressed here were taken/inspired from this article.
Heather asks… “Is there anything in my life that doesn’t please God?” I could immediately think of a long list that would say yes to this question. Could you? Don’t we all fall short? There are weeks that go by that I fall short daily. Galatians 5:25 it says, “Keep in step with the spirit.”
Oh, how easy it is to get caught up in the ways of the world that may not match up with the ways of the Lord. The struggle: The flesh versus God’s desires.
As we grow older we get better at reflecting on our past. We can easily see the poor mistakes, the sinful choices, the sharp use of our tongue, the guilt this brings. Hopefully, through trial and error, through a maturing faith, we can choose to straighten that once more crooked path.
How grateful I am that God has an over flowing abundance of grace! 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us of our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” But it is natural to wonder…. “Does there come a time when Jesus will stop forgiving us?” Matthew 18:22 says God (and we) should forgive “7×70.” That is 490 times!! OK… What if I sin and need to be forgiven more than 490 times? (Because I’m afraid at the age 51 that’s likely the case)….. will He still forgive me beyond that number? The answer is YES! Grace means to get something that you do not deserve; unmerited favor. As God continues to give us grace, so should we grant Grace to our adversaries.
So… back to the question, “Is there anything in my life that doesn’t please God?” Of course, there is… But each day is a new opportunity to make better decisions. To hold our tongue and not engage in gossip or malice. I know, I know. It is so easy to do and everyone else does it, so what’s the big deal? The big deal is nothing good comes from it and it becomes a poor reflection on you/us… And it’s definitely not a reflection of God working through you/us. It’s definitely a battle to swim against the current – it’s hard to make boundaries around this but this is where we can keep each other accountable. When your friend (or family member) begins speaking negatively about someone else, say, “I’d rather not talk about _____.” Or “Let’s not talk about ____ without him or her present.” You will set a healthy/godly boundary around gossiping. In the end (even though it’s hard to say), it feels good and like you’ve done the right thing. This, in turn, models how the other person can say it to others.
Some great questions that Heather wrote in her article that I’d like to share with you are;
- 1. Does this activity bring me closer to Jesus or further away
- 2. Does this activity help others know/see Jesus?
- 3. Would I be embarrassed if Jesus arrived and saw me doing this thing? Saying these things?
- 4. Is the Holy Spirit saying no and I am ignoring him? These are great questions to ask and I know some of you are thinking, “These are just not the questions that truly come to my mind when I’m wanting to share with my girlfriend about what a jerk so and so is… Or you’re not going to believe what ____did last night!” I get it. I’ve been there. I’ve engaged in gossip and saying not so flattering things about my friends. Upon reflection – I have regret/ remorse/ seek forgiveness and try to fight the battle of not engaging in that type of conversation. Might I fall short again? I might. We need to ask our friends (and family members) to help keep us accountable – only together – can we get better about reflecting the type of person God wants us to be.I have friends whose faith has weakened in their older years (older meaning older than you were at a younger age) 😄 It has a weakened because they’ve been beaten down by life’s circumstances – divorce – death of loved ones – lies – have been cheated on – gossiped about – experienced disappointments and embarrassments– failures – shaming– the list goes on, right? Lots of negativity in our culture and it’s easy to hop on that train. If someone asks you, “How do you think God feels about you right now?” you might surely hang your head low and give a list of why He’d be disappointed and ashamed.
Here’s the good news! Jesus STILL loves you and craves a relationship with you! Yes… with YOU!!! Even after having to forgive you more than 7×70 times! Take the story you’re telling yourself and flip it around. Know that you are loved – wake up tomorrow with a new mission to engage in all things good (I know the “evil” things are sometimes more fun). Feel condemned no longer – ask for forgiveness, know that it is granted and be excited to change, learn and grow. If you allow it, Jesus will continue to shape you in His image.
At the end of Heather’s article I like what she said… “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’re experiencing a close relationship with Jesus. Anything that would hinder you from God’s ways is a temporary happiness that will eventually reveal itself from what it is. ”
So, where do we go from here? Hopefully to a better place. A place that gives us confidence and knowing our decisions and the things we do, DO shape who we are, our children, people around us and ultimately our culture. Choose right over wrong, good over evil, positive over negative, sage over saboteurs. Do these things and you’ll have a joyful life and feel better about living it… in the short time we are even here on this Earth.
Happy Thanksgiving! (AND if you ever want to go to church,, contact me because I’ll invite you to mine if you’re in Louisville. Church is a great place to reconnect with God and others who are trying to redeem/ improve their actions/ behavior. If not at my church, maybe a church near you).