Ray of Hope Shining on the Face of a Child

A daily devotion for March 11th

How To Please God

As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.

1 Thessalonians 4:1

The apostle must have actually held classes in Thessalonica. Evidently he systematically taught them on many subjects. We may think of the ancients as very different from us, but they really were not. These people who lived in this bustling seaport city of Thessalonica felt the same kind of pressures and drives that we do. In all the realism and wisdom of the Scriptures, the apostle taught them how to handle life in all kinds of areas.

The most important thing is that they learned from him how they ought to live in order to please God. That is the number one subject in the curriculum of the Holy Spirit. The Christian's business is to live to please God. The idea here is that we owe it to God to please him! Why? Because Jesus has done a great thing for us. He died for us, that we might live no longer for ourselves but for him who died for us. The great truth we must learn is that we no longer belong to ourselves. We must no longer let our own desires take first priority in life. Jesus died on our behalf, in our place. We deserved that death, but he took the penalty himself. Now we belong to him. He has invaded our being by the Holy Spirit, and the purpose of our lives has been transformed. We are to live no longer for ourselves but for him who died for us and was raised again from the dead. That is the first priority in the Christian life. Every appeal to the Christian in the New Testament is made on that basis, and that is why Paul puts it first here. As someone has said, the main thing is to see that the main thing remains the main thing. We ought to remind ourselves every day that our business is not to do what we want done but to please the Lord who has redeemed us at such fearful cost.

Further, Paul exhorts them that, just as they have been doing this, they ought to do so more and more. The Christian life is one of growth. There is progress to be made. A wider realm of application ought to be visible in our lives. All of us have had some aspect of our lives that we were disturbed about when we came to Christ. It may have been a deep sense of inferiority, or of shame or anger for our inability to be what we ought to be. We came to Christ because we needed help. Not only was that area surrendered to him, but every aspect of our life is to be his to control.

The apostle reminds the Thessalonians of the clear instructions he gave on how to live to please God. Notice these are given in the Lord Jesus. This is not just Paul's advice as a religious leader. These are the words and desires of our Lord Jesus himself.

Lord, teach me how to live and please God in the power of the Holy Spirit, for you have given your life for me.

Life Application

What are some ways that you know you can please God? What are some things in your life right now that you know do not please God?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

Handling your Sex Drive

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