Ephes. 5 In Vs. 9 People who have the light do all that is good and right and true. 10 Learn what pleases the Lord.
But what pleases the Lord? Well to answer that question let’s first look into what the Lord hates. Hatred is a feeling that can be both Godly and sinful depending on what it is that is causing us to hate.
Hate is such a strong word: it means to feel intense or passionate dislike for…For example, I hate human trafficking, child abuse and injustice. (I also hate okra)
Proverbs 6:16-19 (NIV)
16 There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, 19 a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.
- These are extremely hard truths. But it startles me when I see the words the Lord Hates! If he hates it then so should we. We can’t make him known to others if we are doing things he hates.
- If we are having haughty eyes (arrogant, self-important, conceited) thinking we are better than others because we are blessed or have more or feel smarter and wiser or have a better job etc, than we are representing Him in a bad way
- If we have a lying tongue; than we are not walking with Him, the light isn’t in us and how horrible is it when people who don’t know the Lord know you as a lying Christian. (I’ve spoken to people in and out of the church that say they won’t work with Christians because they are entitled, lazy, liars, thieves etc.) that breaks my heart because that’s how we are making God known to a world that doesn’t know him.
- If we have hands that shed innocent blood, (murder, right?) I feel He is talking about more than just taking a life physically, I believe he is talking about taking a life literally and figuratively, I believe you can shed innocent blood with your tongue and with your heart, being vicious and hateful about what you say or feel about someone or the way you speak to them. 1 John 3:15 (ESV)15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. Notice how it says hates, present tense. Gods mercy gives us an opportunity to repent.
- If we have a heart that devises wicked schemes, (thinking of ways to deceive others or God for your personal gain.) That is such a horrible example of who God is. Since you do not know God in that way, then you should not be making him known that way.
- When I was first walking with the Lord everything I used to pray for came easy. Then I realized that I was praying with the intention of what God will give me, instead of building my relationship with Him. I remember trying to deceive God, it didn’t work out well for me. I used to love playing the lotto and going to the casinos and spending money on the slot machines, but God told me one day that I am not being a good steward over his money and He wants me to stop gambling in this way. So for years I didn’t do any of these things, then one day, everyone at work was playing for the mega million lottery and they asked me to join, I said no I can’t it’s against my beliefs, so one of my co-workers asked me for $1, I gave it to her and she said, ok Neena, I’m putting it in for you, are you going to stop me? I said nothing so she did it, then I try and convince God that if He lets us win I promise to give an offering to the church and help those in need. (see the devising schemes). Even though my “intentions” were Good I knew I disobeyed Him for my own selfish desires. I opened the door for the enemy to come just three weeks later and I got hit from my ex-husband’s debt and his debtor took all of my money from my account left me with zero dollars. I cried to God in rage and asked Him why he would allow this to happen to me when I tithe, I pray, I give and do all He asks, why would he allow this. He said, I didn’t, YOU DID, then reminded me of the $1 that opened the door for the enemy due to my trying to manipulate God, I immediately felt convicted and repented. So, in short $1, cost me $15,000. Lesson Learned!
- If we are quick to rush into evil we are not in communion with God. God is light and good and if you are quick to “do what you got to do” to make things happen at any cost that is detestable to God.
- If we are a false witness who pours out lies, then you lack integrity and truth is not in you.
- If we are a person who stirs up conflict in the community than you do not want peace and you show others that God is not a God that can be trusted especially in times of trouble. As Christians, we are called to be a community whose conduct shines as a beacon to others, illuminating the way that God intended life to be lived.
- Proverbs 8:13 To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.
- The more we become like Christ and understand the love of God, the more we will begin to hate hypocrisy, injustice, lies, godlessness, evil behavior and perverse speech that seems to be so expectable in the world.
How can we know God; What pleases the Lord?
Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)
6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.
This passage identifies faith and belief in God and believing He will do what He says He will do, as a prerequisite for pleasing God.
- SCRIPTURAL DEFINITION of FAITH= Hebrews 11: 1” Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”.
- Faith is the connecting power into the spiritual realm, which links us with God and makes Him become a tangible reality to the sense perceptions of a person.
- It is pleasing to God when you come to Him yes, but you must believe that He exists and that he is a rewarder. I believe many of us have a very hard time receiving all God has to offer, maybe because we don’t feel worthy or maybe because we don’t think He will reward us. Both imply that He is not a God of His word
2. Be spiritually minded
Romans 8:6-8 (NIV)
6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
- Don’t be controlled by your emotions. Your emotions can lead you in the wrong direction. Every time something doesn’t go your way you get angry and want to do it your way because it will get done faster, or better, not really caring or listening to what God has to say about it.
- But you may think I can’t help myself sometimes, but vs 9 addresses this; 9You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.
- You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh. Powerful right? To think that we have a whole other dimension of who we are. We are not just empty vessels that can act with no consequence, not if we are truly and indeed filled with the spirit of God. (not my words God’s) I felt so convicted when I read that because I do have lots of moments when I walk in the flesh and when I struggle I know it’s because I haven’t been spending time with the Lord and his word. Will you fail at times? YES, even Paul talked about it in Romans 8, but if we repent Jesus will deliver us from this!
3. Fear of the Lord
Psalm 147:11 (NIV)
11 the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.
Does this mean that we should cower in a corner in fear? No on the contrary; The Bible tells us to fear God, not because it is good for Him, but because it is good for us to accurately recognize that He is more powerful than anything else that can come against you. Acknowledging this shows our deep respect for Him and that delights Him. When we walk in the fear of the Lord we are walking with the right perspective of who is really in control.
4. Do God’s will
Hebrews 13:16 (ESV)
16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
Hebrews 13:21 (NIV)
21 equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
God will equip you with all that you need to do good and share what you have. God wants you to know his will for your life. What is God’s will? God’s desires, His commands and His plans are expressed throughout the Bible. The Bible was given to us to show us His will. Studying the Bible, meditating on it and praying about it, and acting accordingly are keys to gaining deeper understanding of His will.
5. Sacrifice to God
15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
Praise is the appropriate response to God. He is worthy of all our praise
We can read throughout scripture where God rejected sacrifices that were gained through disobedience and pride. But there are sacrifices that He is “well pleased” with, including giving praise and thanks to Him and sharing with others. -One of his greatest commandments if that we love others like we love ourselves. (Matthew 22:37-39)
John 14:15 “If you love me, keep my commands.
2 John 1:6 And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.
If we love God, trust Him and want to please him we need to be obedient to his commands and walk in Love. He loves you and that’s why being obedient to Him shows love, trust, willingness to sacrifice even though you are feeling scared, nervous, unsure. Walking in Love is walking in obedience.
I’m not just sharing this with you, I lived these steps in my life;
I remember telling God I was unhappy, one day I had a breakdown after work and was crying because I felt so unhappy in the work I was doing as a medical assistant. I had thoughts and dreams of going back to school to be a chef but that was a total career shift, so no way!
So, as I was praying I said to God, ok God I can’t tell if this is you talking or is it me. So, if this is you, I tell you what. If you come down here personally and tell me that I am released to quit my job and go back to school, I will do it. But you need to tell me personally that I’m released.
About 30-45min later, my husband comes home from work and tell me that he was in the car praying and that he felt like he heard God tell him to “go into the room and tell your wife that I said she is released!!” I made him repeat it because I couldn’t believe what I just heard.
I was soooo shocked! That was a tangible God moment. A moment where God felt closer and more real than ever! So, I went into the next room and typed up my letter of resignation.
I decided to step out in faith, I said “ok God, now I have no money, no job, and no idea what I’m going to do… but I did hear that Fathers pay for their kid’s tuition”. “You are my only father, so I need you to pay for my tuition.” When I was in prayer I felt like he wanted me to go to NCC so I did and when I applied for school I also applied for a scholarship, I got it.
While I was in school the great recession hit in 2008, by 2009 we lost everything, we became homeless. The home we were going to purchase-gone, our cars-gone, our kids had to go live with other family members and Rudy and I had to stay with friends, sleeping in living rooms, in our car so we weren’t a burden to anyone. The shelters were full, the food pantries had no food, we were in a desperate state. One day crying out to God I said. “This is sooo unfair. You told me to quit my job and go back to school, why then is this happening?”
I heard clearly God say in my heart, “I told you to be obedient I never told you it would be easy.” I decided not to be led by my emotions anymore, and be spiritually minded, and fear the Lord at his word, I said: “you’re right God, so I will make you proud and be the best student you ever seen”. So, I got up early every day and was at NCC before they opened so I can be the first one in the doors to do my studies and not be a bother to my friends.
I was convinced I was doing my father’s will for my life, I prayed, I studied, I prayed, I got a p/t student job at the school, my poor husband was trying to find work anywhere he could, doing whatever he could, we sacrificed everything for me to follow His word. Even having an income of $200-$300 a month was hard to come by.
During all of this I kept up with my grades, kept holding on to God and His word and faithfulness, and boy was He faithful, I got every scholarship I ever applied for.
I finished my culinary certificate and my associates at NCC with a 4.0 GPA, I was the valedictorian for the class of 2011, I was in the papers, magazines around the country, I did what I could to make him proud and show Him I will trust him and be obedient even in the midst of what looks impossible. And He showed me, He is trustworthy.
I then asked him “dad can I continue my education and get my bachelor’s degree? I got a letter from Monroe in NY telling me they wanted to offer me a scholarship, they read my story.
God paid for my culinary certification, associate’s degree and bachelor’s degree, every time I asked God for money to pay for it, I would get a check in the mail. This is the power of receiving.
I didn’t sit back and expect Him to do it all, I put my part of the work. I sacrificed to the Lord, worked several jobs at a time, I started my own small business, I worked as a personal chef, I worked at restaurants, I wanted to show God I’m doing it because He did for me.
Of course, life still has its struggles, but God has changed my life, He came in and transformed me and my family through the struggles and has made me into who I am today. Today I am an executive chef/manager of an amazing organization that works to advance good in the world. He has put more desires in me so I am in the midst of writing my first book, doing teachings for the Lord, blogging for Him. I live wanting to please Him and be obedient and shift when He says shift!!!
Questions to ask yourself or a small group.
- Am I trying to please God or other people?
- What is something you desire or God desires in your life these days? What do you do with those desires?
- How do try to please God? Where in your life or walk do you feel you do not please God?
- What can you do or do you do to cultivate a spirit and fight the battle of the flesh?