Live To Please God

When people live so that they please the Lord,
even their enemies will make peace with them.
(Proverbs 16:7 New Century Version)

How do we live in ways that please the Lord? Obey his commands, seek his face, do no evil, love one another, love your enemies? In short, it may boil down to simply what the Lord requires. We believers must live to please the Lord rather than ourselves.

Please God

What does the Lord require of man? The prophet Micah, wrote succinctly on this matter. He said to do what is right, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8 my paraphrase). Solomon’s desire was to please God by asking for the right thing.

The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for wisdom. For God replied, “Because you have asked for wisdom in governing my people with justice and have not asked for a long life or wealth or death of your enemies—I will give you what you asked for!” (1 Kings 3:10-12 NLT).

Live for Him

If it can be that simple, how do we miss the mark so often? The New Testament shows many things we can do to please God. The Apostle Paul’s profound instructions to the believers at Colossae helps me. This prayer encourages them and it applies to all believers – then and now.

We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you complete wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit (Colossians 1:9b,10 NLT).

So, do we merely obey God’s commands? No, it’s that and much more, Jesus came and revealed to us the attitudes and actions that please God. We believers must live to please the Lord rather than ourselves.

Prayer: Father, your Word is a revelation on how we should live (as well as an illustration on how not to live). Guide me daily in my walk with you. Selah.

Put God In Charge

Mortals make elaborate plans,
but God has the last word.

Humans are satisfied with whatever looks good;
God probes for what is good.

Put God in charge of your work,
then what you’ve planned will take place.

and your plans will succeed (Proverbs 16:3 MSG).

The wisdom held in many of Solomon’s wise sayings may astound and confuse a believer. We know God wants us to listen to what he desires for us. To fully commit all that we do and say to the Lord is greater than making our own elaborate plans.

Divine Influence Needed

We may come up with hundreds of schemes that we wish God would bring into effect — but they may not for his good or his glory. Without divine influence, we’re simply begging God to bless our own ideas. *

God Is Perfect

We must keep in mind God’s purpose (through the Word and the Holy Spirit). We want God-imparted ideas and plans. When we carefully listen and read what God wants for us, we can know we’re on the right path, and our works will succeed. Because God is perfect, we can trust him.

To fully commit all that we do and say to the Lord is greater than making our own elaborate plans.

Prayer: Father, help form my thoughts and intentions based on your plans for me. Selah.

* Clarke’s Commentary, Proverbs 16:1-3, biblehub.com,

God Knows

The LORD sees everything, whether good or bad.
Proverbs 15:3 (CEV Contemporary English Version)

We know and should understand God created it all. We shouldn’t be surprised that he sees and knows everything, even though we cannot see him. Would believers live differently if they believed God knew everything they did?

God Sees It All

Theologians use the terms omniscient and omnipresent to show that God knows everything (or is all knowing) and is present everywhere—but these words are not in the Bible. And knowing God hates evil (see Proverbs 6:16-19) and he rewards good should comfort believers.

Because God sees/knows everything mankind does, there are no secrets kept from him. This should be a stern warning to those who thumb their nose at sin and keep doing as they please. Whether you are a theologian or not, it’s true that God knows everything and we don’t! We’ve been warned.

It comes down to this: whether we live for God or for ourselves—it is our choice! Choose life in God almighty—he loves us so much. Would believers live differently if they believed God saw everything they did?

Prayer: Father, let me never forget you see all I do and know all about me. Keep me on track and protect me by your overwhelming love.

A Fountain Of Life

The [reverent] fear of the Lord [that leads to obedience
and worship] is a fountain of life, so that one may avoid
the snares of death. (Proverbs 14:27 AMP)

This vivid visual concerning fear of the Lord guides believers in God’s ways through obedience and worship! Solomon declares that reverent fear is essential to receive from life from God.

Reverent Fear

The Amplified Bible adds great meaning, using two words not often found in this passage—obedience and worship. The reverence, awe, respect, even trembling yields in us the character God desires of his people. We should not shrink back from the Lord. Believers must be a people of obedience and worship.

This type of reverence for God is a haven of security and peace. Resting in “the hand of God” is where believers long to linger… for a lifetime. This “life-giving fountain” is comfort for the spirit. What a glorious picture! Solomon declares that reverent fear is the essential aspect of receiving life from God.

Prayer: Father, I want to obey all you ask and tell me to do. Selah.

The Attitude of a Parent

A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare (Proverbs 15:1 NLT).

Only a fool despises a parent’s discipline; whoever learns from instruction is wise (Proverbs 15:5 NLT).

My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you (Proverbs 3:11 NLT).

Parents may have discipline in mind when they respond, with outbursts of anger, to their children’s bad behavior. But the children often interpret these outbursts as pure punishment. What are parents to do? Train your child to know God’s ways, do them and the children will become secure in them.

The Blueprint

How Jesus speaks and acts provides a blueprint for how we are to speak and act. We may spiritualize how we see Jesus, but Scripture says he faced every temptation we will face—read about Jesus’ difficulties. He was misunderstood, prematurely judged, punished without being guilty, and died a shameful death.

Now, parents are responsible for how their children act and speak. Teach your children how to cooperate with God’s work in their lives. Grace and compassion win overall, but discipline and correction for misbehavior remain necessary.

Punishment Verses Discipline

Punishment is focused on past actions. It produces negative characteristics in children: guilt, shame, bitterness, self-pity, and resentment. Discipline may be applied to current situations, with a forward-looking goal to teach good behavior.

The aim is to correct wrong behavior while keeping the child’s best interest in mind (not the parent’s anger). Train your child to know God’s ways, do them and the children will become secure in them.

Prayer: Father, help me guide, teach, and correct the children you have given us in your ways. Selah.

Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them (Proverbs 13:24 NLT).

Solomon’s direct, harsh wording here takes the reader by surprise. Parents don’t usually hate their children, do they? His intent, in my opinion, is to focus on caring enough to discipline children and guide them by God’s Word.

Look at discipline in Hebrews (below). It adds clarity. The challenge in raising children is when and how to discipline. Parents must purpose to have an attitude and lifestyle that seeks God’s will and desire to conform to it. Teach your children God’s ways, disciplining them when necessary with words and action.

Trained by Discipline

For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems sad and painful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness [right standing with God and a lifestyle and attitude that seeks conformity to God’s will and purpose] (Hebrews 12:11 AMP).

Discipline—even painful discipline—should be an expression of love! It always seeks a child’s best interest. Parents need to use God’s approach when guiding their children. And themselves be guided by God.

Love and Guide

Are parents taking God’s place in discipline? No, we as parents are overseers of our children — God’s children — as they grow up. Parents should bring both words and actions, warnings and consequences, to our children’s challenging situations in life to keep them on track (or right with God’s ways).

 

The principle remains the same: love our children, guide and discipline them when they error. They may not like discipline, but it is necessary for their own good as temptations invade proper thinking and desires. * Teach your children God’s ways, disciplining them when necessary with words and action.

Prayer: Father, thank you that your ways are higher than ours. Keep us on track as we interact with our children).

*Characteristics of Biblical discipline from focusonthefamily.com.

Parents, Discipline Your Children

Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children.
 Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.
Proverbs 13:24 NLT

Solomon seemingly throws out a bomb concerning parental discipline in raising children. With your children, discipline guides them in the way they should live – a life for God. This God-directed task for parents, is strong wording on their responsibility to raise their children for God.

To the Point

Solomon speaks as though he were talking to you on the couch in your living room. You might consider this a biting and a harsh statement. However, his intent is to show God’s perspective of what parents should do to raise their children to honor God and their parents.

Love and Correction

The compassionate phrase “love their children care enough” gets to the heart of Solomon’s message. In love, parents must guide, direct and correct/discipline their children when necessary. This God-directed task for parents is strong wording on their responsibility to raise their children for God.

Prayer: Father, your Word contains vital information and guidance for all of us. Thank you for showing parents the importance of love and discipline.

Note: The next few blogs will examine more on discipline for children. They will be extracted from a Focus on the Family perspective.