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To be pleasing to the Lord
- Jacob Ninan
The greatness of God's love is its unconditional and unmerited nature. He demonstrated it by letting Jesus die for those who didn't deserve His love (Ro.5:8). With that kind of love, He loves us without end (Je.31:3). He promises us never to leave or forsake us (He.13:5). Even when Israel and Judah went away from Him into spiritual harlotry, He kept waiting for them to return (Is.31:6). In simple words, He loves all people, and He continues to love all irrespective of how they behave towards Him. This is because His nature is love (1Jn.4:8). His love is an eternal desire to do us good.
But His love only shows His goodness on His side, and tells nothing about us! The fact that God loves us does not mean that He likes what He sees in us! Can it be that He is sad about some of the things we do?
God loves everyone, and wants to do good to all. But He is not pleased with everyone. The Bible says that He was not pleased with most of the people of Israel whom He had brought out of Egypt and that they perished in the desert (1Co.10:5). Can we now think that since God has accepted us in Christ as an unmerited favour He cannot be displeased with us? The Bible quotes the above example just to tell us that we should take care that it does not happen to us (v.11,12).
Some people say God loves sinners but hates sin. But we can't really separate the sinner from his sin, can we? God loves sinners in the sense that He desires to do them good, hoping that they would repent and turn to Him (2Pe.3:9). But He is not happy with the 'sinner". We need to understand God's love in that way.
When Jesus was getting baptised in water, the Father said that He was well pleased with Jesus (Mt.3:17). Jesus received the highest certificate of all. In fact the Bible says that Jesus received a name higher than everyone else because He had humbled Himself the most (Php.2:8,9). Even when it costed Him His life, He said, "Not My will, but Yours, Father" (Mt.26:39). This was how He was pleasing to the Father. This is our Forerunner, our Example, and our Hero, whom we are to follow. Jesus was always pleasing to the Father because He always did the things that were pleasing to Him (Jn.8:29). Paul always tried his best to be pleasing to the Lord (2Co.5:9).
Now the Father is looking for people after His own heart, who will do all His will (Acts.13:22). So it is not enough for us to know that God loves us, and to take strength from that knowledge. We must want to be pleasing to Him. It is not enough to tell God that we love Him, and sing songs of praise and worship. We also need to do what He tells us (Jn.14:21). He wants to talk to us all through the day and tell us what is on His mind, so that we can walk like Jesus walked and become like Him (1Jn.2:6;Jn.5:19). Then He can also entrust us with greater responsibilities (Mt.25:21).