What Pleases You?

Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.

Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.

Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. Don’t participate in the things these people do. For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.

10 Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. 11 Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. 12 It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. 13 But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, 14 for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said,

“Awake, O sleeper,
rise up from the dead,
and Christ will give you light.”

Ephesians 5:1-14

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Arkansas Lake | Hensley, AR | October 2019

My favorite Martin Luther movie has Luther in the classroom teaching his students about justification by grace through faith. He makes his point that nothing we do attains salvation or merits God’s grace. It is only by God’s grace that we are forgiven and saved. It’s part of his grace alone, faith alone, Scripture alone, and Christ alone emphasis.

One of the students is incredulous. “You mean we can do nothing to gain God’s favor?”
“Nothing.”
“You mean all sins are forgiven by God?!?”
“Yes.”
“You mean I can do whatever I please?”
“Yes. And what pleases you? Make faces at the Duke? Spend the week in a whorehouse?”
And so it goes between Luther and his student.

What pleases one who is a child of God? We might think a season of wanton thrills, and profligate wild living is just the order. But not according to our identity as children of God. We might think we should judge others and tell everyone the way things ought to be. But not as a child of God. The child does not tell the Father how to run the household, at least not in healthy families.

So what pleases you? Have you sought to understand what pleases the Lord Jesus? Micah puts it this way:

He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?

Micah 6:8

It’s time we wake up to the way of life that pleases our Lord. Not in order to become his children or gain his favor, but because Jesus is our brother and God is our father, and we are his children. We please him when we live out our true identity by loving God, obeying his commands and loving our neighbor as ourselves.

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