As promised, here is the 2nd part to/the full blog about pleasing others instead of pleasing God. It did not turn out how I expected it to, but I wrote what I felt the Holy Spirit leading me to write, so here it is! Thank you for your patience! Here it is:
April 12-13, 2017
Seek the Approval of God NOT Other People
10 “Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.”
I know I have previously written on this subject, but it has come to my attention a lot recently that it needs to be addressed again. I myself have always been a people pleaser and this has gotten me nowhere but heartache, pain, and sometimes trouble (especially trouble with God). I am trying to break free of this habit, and have been trying to do so since learning this was a sin and foolish in the eyes of God, which I learned sometime after being saved almost 5 years ago (April 18, 2012 I was baptized and received the gift of the Holy Spirit). Since I am trying hard to break free from this awful habit, I must also cut ties with people who are habitual and unapologetically people pleasers – especially ones who claim to be walking with the Lord, Jesus.
But how can a person say they are walking with the LORD, that they trust only Jesus and love Him with all their being but then in the next breath (or in some cases, in their next written or typed sentence) say that they want to make everyone happy and please everyone and nothing is more important to helping others than to try to make sure they are all happy? Sounds like people-pleasing to me. However, the Bible specifically states that we are not to please people, but God in several places in both OT and NT.
Proverbs 29:25 says, “Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety.”
1 Thessalonians 2:4 says, “For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts.”
John 12:43 says, “For they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.”
There are also examples of men putting pleasing people before pleasing God into action in the Bible. For instance, when Jesus was handed over to His enemies by Judas and He stood before Pilate and the high priests had gotten the crowd all fired up against Jesus, Pilate asked who to release, the prisoner named Barabbas or Jesus and the crowd shouted: “crucify Him!” So to please the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas (a murderer), and ordered for Jesus to be flogged (whipped) and crucified (Mark 15:9-15). Pilate knew Jesus was innocent of the crimes He was arrested for and that he’d been sent to prison because the high priests were envious of Him (v. 10), but to please (or pacify, as it is written in my NLT version), he released a vicious murderer and had an innocent man (who they found out too late truly was the Son of God) beaten and crucified.
Being in the business of people-pleasing is still similar today. Whenever we make a decision to try to please everyone (or even 1 particular person or group of people), we are telling Jesus that we do not fully believe in Him and/or that we do not love Him as much as (or at all, depending on who the people-pleasing person is) we love the people we are trying to please. Jesus warns us against this in Matthew 10:37-39 that if anyone loves their mother, father, sister, brother, son, daughter, or anyone else more than they love Him, that they are not worthy of being His follower. He is not telling us to hate our family, friends, or other loved ones – He is telling us to love them less, because their lives are finite and will end (and those who do not believe in Jesus will be separated from all who believed, loved, and obeyed Jesus while they were here on earth, whether for an hour or most of their lives or anywhere in-between), but Jesus is infinite (He has existed since the beginning of time and will always be in existence) and holds the keys to eternity with Him and the Father in Heaven. When we love, follow, and obey Jesus in faith, we learn how to live the right way and we get prepared to how life will be like in Heaven when there will be no more evil, no more sadness or crying, no more suffering or pain or loss or betrayals: all bad stuff will be done away with and the things that remain will be love, peace, faith, hope, joy, and those who were faithfully obedient to the Lord Jesus, the Son of God and our Lord and Savior.
On the other hand, living for worldly pleasures and to please people will lead to a life of self-destruction and also your actions and words will have a negative impact on others in the world and it is insecurity and self-centeredness that led to the first sin ever committed in this world from Eve after the serpent deceived her. She was deceived because she was naïve and she was insecure after the serpent (Satan in disguise) told her she could have the same knowledge God had and be like Him and be equal to Him, and she wanted it so badly that she went against God’s command not to eat from the 1 fruit tree that was forbidden and we all know what happened after that! —> Sin entered the world along with death, destruction, pain, suffering, separation, sickness, greed, poverty, and all the other problems we face in today’s world.
Why am I bringing this subject up again, one might ask? I have been guilty of being a people pleaser my whole life, and for the past few years, I have been working hard to break the cycle. I still hate confrontation because I don’t like hurting other people’s feelings (or the possibility of it) and I do not want to upset anyone or rock the boat of our friendship or current relationship status (including blood family, and spiritual family at church). And honestly, their reactions/possible bad reactions cause me anxiety because sometimes people (including me, another bad habit I am working to get rid of) explode in anger or get super offended and hurt and cry or yell or both, and some throw things as they yell, and relationships end sometimes when the other person is unwilling to accept what they are hearing and distance themselves as far from the truth they do not want to hear as possible. But I know, because it says so in Scripture, that it is wrong to aim to please people above pleasing God, and fearing man is dangerous, but trusting God leads to safety (as we can read in Proverbs 29:25. And the flip-side to that is this: “Fear of the LORD is the foundation of true knowledge (or wisdom, depending on translation).” Proverbs 1:7a
The second part of that Proverb (Proverb 1:7b) is that “but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” Why do we act so foolish? Is it lack of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding? Is it selfishness? I believe it depends on the person, because some people are not selfish, they just lack the proper wisdom or understanding to know what is right in a situation that is not as simple as black and white (right or wrong). “Thou shalt not murder” is an obviously wrong/bad thing to do. However, doing something good for someone else may not necessarily be easy to see as doing something wrong if the person cannot see that their motive is to please the person instead of honoring God. Sometimes, people do the right things for the wrong reasons and then it is considered a sin against God because God examines the heart, He examines the reasons for our words and actions. If our motives are pure and bring glory to God (and that is our intent), then God is pleased. However, if we do something to please another person, then God is not pleased. And to do something we know in our hearts goes against God, but we do it anyway because we are afraid what the person we are doing the thing for will do to us if we do not do or say what they told us to, then we are guilty of acting against God in more than 1 way: first, because we feared man more than God and second, because we did something that went against God (i.e. lying to others because they demand it and cannot handle the truth).
There is a third option if you are unsure whether or not to do something, to do the right thing for the right reasons, and if you rightly fear God if you’re being asked to do something wrong and sinful but you know it is wrong and do not want to do it: pray. We are told to pray on every occasion, continually and persistently, in Ephesians 6:18. There are many other places in the Bible where we are told to pray in NT, and in OT, we have many examples of those who did the praying, such as Daniel (Book of Daniel), and King David (1 and 2 Samuel). God has the right solutions to every problem we will ever encounter in life. The question is, will we be willing to pray to Him to reveal what it is when the right thing to do is unclear to us? Will you continue being a people pleaser, or will you give up your life to follow the Lord (Jesus Christ) and do things His way, which is the right way? This question is for both believers as well as non-believers. For non-believers: it is not too late to turn your life around, be saved (take the necessary steps to be saved including proper form of baptism), and to daily follow Jesus and live life the way He taught us to both in words and example by the way He lived His own life here on earth as a human.
I recently had to end a very short-lived friendship with someone I met in a support group for anxiety and depression because he claimed to be a man of God who loved Jesus above everyone else and trusted only Jesus. Yet when he created his own support group with “hope” in the title (for those of us who suffer from depression, so we would know there is still hope that it will not last forever and that things can and will get better), at one point he forgot that Jesus was a major factor in the helping and supporting others (since it is important and also brings healing to those who believe when they hear it that Jesus loves them unconditionally, and has the power to heal them) and banned any mention of God or Jesus from the group and was not afraid of other believers leaving the group (and there were others besides me who also left due to this). He said that the reason he created the group was to help others, and there were those who were against hearing about God and Jesus and complained to him about it. Another admin after she left the group had said that there were only a few who did this objecting but most of the members joining were for hearing the Truth, were for hearing about God and Jesus. So one person who began with good intentions, let a few people dictate what was allowed and what was not allowed in his support group. He let their anti-Christ mind-sets wreak havoc with his own sense of right from wrong and he forgot that Jesus is a key to healing. Some people believe in doctors and the medicine they prescribe to heal them of whatever sickness or ailments or pain they experience. Some rely on natural remedies (which both of these things are OK initially, but not when that is the sole thing they rely on: medicine – whether RX or over the counter (self-medicating), or natural remedies). Jesus may, and sometimes does lead us to a specific doctor who will prescribe specific meds or let you know of natural alternatives (depending on the doctor) to help heal us or make us better. However, the first step should be believing that Jesus has the power to heal us, step 2 is to pray to Him about how to get the healing we need from Him, and step 3 is obeying Him whatever He tells us to do. Also, truly believing and accepting that Jesus loves us unconditionally can be healing as well, knowing that no matter how well or poorly we act (as long as we continue to confess our sins to Him like in 1 John 1:9), He will forgive us because when He died for us on the cross, it was to save us from all of the sins we have and would ever commit and not just the sins we had committed prior to being made right with God through a soul-saving relationship with Him (Jesus).
Standing on this truth in your heart, in your mind, and letting it enter every fiber of your being, will help you to be at peace in the midst of storms and feel joy when things are bad in your life, and you will no longer be crushed by the overwhelming weight of anxiety, depression, bitterness, unforgiveness, anger, rage, discouragement, fear, doubt, unbelief, and/or whatever else currently weighs you down. I know that these things currently weigh me down (though I thank God that bitterness has not taken root in all areas of my life and just in a couple of relationships, which I am working to uproot the bitterness so it does not spread to every other relationship and to every area of my life) and I feel like I am drowning and that Jesus (my “lifeguard that walks on water”) is too far away to reach me and save me most days. Part of my personal problem is that I am having a hard time internalizing personally what I know and understand on an intellectual level about God’s love and Jesus’ sacrifice of His life for me on the cross. I believe that many others suffer from this problem too. It is one thing to know a fact about something or someone, but it is completely different to reconcile the truth of it personally in your own life, especially when it comes to something as truly wonderful as God’s unconditional unfailing and everlasting love, mercy, and grace for us, which makes Him slow to anger and eager to forgive and blot out the stain of our sins and not remember them anymore. I believe if we could all (everyone alive today not already doing this successfully) learn to personally feel and believe and accept in our hearts how much God truly loves us, and feel the full extent of His forgiveness that was given through the shedding of Christ’s blood so we would not have do die for our sins because Jesus did for us all, each and every one of us, then it would be a whole lot easier to live life to please God and to do what is right, even if it means that not every person will be pleased. In fact, when we do what pleases God, there will always be people who don’t like it and who will complain or leave your life. I learned this the hard way several times since coming into a right relationship with the Lord nearly 5 years ago – on April 18, 2012.
What we need to learn is that not everyone wants to believe or accept the truth, so as much as we want it to be, those who live like this will not be saved. We need to let loving and honoring Jesus be more important than pleasing people. We need to learn to be full-time God-pleasers and to accept that there will be people, even among those we love, that will not be pleased by our words, actions, attitudes, behavior, or devotion to Christ. It is hard to let go of people we love and of seeing God’s promises for our lives come to pass on our timeline and in the way we want it to, but it is something we need to learn to do and to do well if we are to live joyful and peaceful lives. We need to trust God’s timing, and that the rare times God says no (instead of “not yet”), that the thing we want is bad for us, and/or that He has something better in mind for us because God sees the whole picture and we see only a partial picture.
And consider this: Sometimes when we aim to please people by saying or doing what they want and not saying and not doing things that offend, upset, or annoy them, we are doing them a disservice. We are enabling them to continue living in spiritual darkness, and to live selfishly to please themselves, which will lead to eternity in Hell for them. Part of our jobs as Christians is to make sure everyone in our lives and everyone we come across (when given the opportunity to do so) know/be told the truth about God and Jesus, and learn about the Good News of salvation and how to attain it. Then it is up to the person receiving the information whether to accept it or reject it. We can try to water the seed planted with words of love and encouragement and by the way we live our own lives, but we cannot force anyone to believe or accept something they either are not yet ready to accept, or will never believe or accept as the truth because of the veil Satan placed on their minds. But we may never know if the person initially rejecting Jesus or the truth will ever turn their lives around and give their hearts to Jesus if we do not try to share the truth/Jesus’ love with them, and if we do not try to find out why they are so against anything having to do with Jesus or God. It is possible they were hurt by a “Christian” or that there was a tragedy in their lives or traumatic event, and they cannot understand how a “supposedly loving God could ‘let’ such bad things happen to them or to innocent people in the world. I still do not understand such things myself, but there comes a time when a person needs to learn to “trust in the LORD and do not depend on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5), and to believe His promise in Romans 8:28 “to work everything together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.” Instead of working so hard at pleasing others and trying to pacify them or keep them happy, what if we decided to live out the truth Jesus taught us in the Gospels and live pure lives that please and honor God, and perhaps someday we will see the miracle (especially if we continually pray for the unbelievers and non-believers among us: friends, family, and others God puts in our paths) of at least 1 (possibly more than 1) of those people having a change of heart and giving their hearts to God and their lives to Jesus to be saved! How incredible would that be? When we please God, it can bring about miracles. He can make our enemies be at peace with us. Pleasing God can bring non-believers to (and unbelievers back to) the Lord to be saved. It can bring healing to our bodies, hearts, minds, souls, and spirits. Nothing is too hard, or impossible for God. However, when a person dies, so does any help you were receiving from them and any hope of whatever you were hoping for or expecting from them. That is why we are to put our hope and trust in God and not in people, money, or circumstances.
Yes, it can be painful either when someone we care deeply for leaves our lives and treats us like lepers because we love and follow Jesus and they want nothing to do with the truth or Jesus because then they’d have to admit they are wrong and change their ways. Yes it is painful when we have to say goodbye to someone we care about because they are toxic to us and if they stayed in our lives, they could lead us astray and we would forfeit our salvation. However, wouldn’t it be even worse to lose our salvation because we thought keeping everyone we love in our lives (even non-believers/anyone against Christ/Truth/God) was more important than the salvation of our own souls, and we did everything the other person/other people wanted in order to get them to stay in our lives? What is more important, pleasing people or the salvation of our souls? If the answer is the salvation of our souls (and pleasing God and following Jesus) then no matter how painful it is for us, we need to do what is best according to God, because He truly knows what is best and what is right for us, and knows better than any other person would what is right for us. It will not be easy, and Jesus warns all of us to count the cost before following Him, but it is more rewarding to be able to learn to live your life filled with peace and joy, even in the midst of horrific storms (trials and tribulations) in our lives now and the promise of eternity in Heaven forever after Jesus 2nd Coming. Am I saying to never please other people? No! In fact, Jesus came to serve us and has commanded us to do the same (to serve others). The key is to remember we are doing it for God and not solely for the other person to win their approval or like or love. When we work to serve others, we are to examine our motives for doing so and make sure that our reasons are pure and to honor God and help the person (regardless of whether or not they can ever return the favor or do something in return), and not to please people or expecting something in return. The right people will be pleased when we obey God and do things that please Him. And we are not to worry about those who do not like or accept what we do in obedience to the LORD, or in the way we conduct ourselves and live our lives.
What will you decide to do? Will you work to please God (first) and do what is right and for the right (pure) reasons, or will you continue to be a people pleaser who either does wrong, or does the right things for the wrong reasons or does the wrong things for the right reasons? When our goal is to please God first and foremost, He will reveal to us the right way to do things and give us the right words to say to others. The decision whether to please others, please yourself, or to please God is entirely up to you. I hope you will at least pray about it and ask the Lord to help you make the right decision and to stand by it and do the right things always, no matter how difficult. Thank you for taking time to read this. I believe in doing so, that you truly do want to please God and that there is hope for you! I hope there is still hope for me, but I believe there is definitely hope for you, as long as you have breath in you to make the necessary changes in your life, with the help of the Holy Spirit and Jesus. May God’s love and peace be with you!
I just got an unusual comment (did not approve it because it needs clarifying first) on one of my posts where I’d had a revelation from God about something and shared it on here. And based on this comment where I was told what I wrote about might be considered taboo, I would like to ask the following question, and please think about it. You do not have to answer unless you feel compelled to (and if you do respond, please keep it respectful or it will not be approved), but this is the question:
Do we do whatever we do in life to please others, or to please God?
If we live to please others, we may stop doing something God has told us to do (or created us to do, like writing and sharing God’s Word and advice with biblical back up through my writing) because we have offended someone or because we might offend someone. But consider this: Jesus did not stop preaching or teaching His disciples and followers when the Pharisees got offended by some of the things Jesus said. He kept preaching, kept healing, kept doing what the Father (God) told Him to do. So, do we live to please other people, or do we live to please God with the way we live our lives? I think this may be the beginning of a possible full blog post I may write about, because some other things have been happening in my life in regards to this issue of pleasing people verses pleasing God and I feel compelled to write about it, but currently lack the energy to do so at full strength.
So for now, I leave you with this question to silently answer for yourself and I hope to be able to write more about this topic with Scripture and in more depth than now. For now, thank you to my readers for reading this! I love you, and God and Jesus love you unconditionally! May God’s peace be with you!
Attention!! I finally followed through and wrote and posted the promised blog to follow about living to please God and not other people! It has already been read by 2 of my faithful readers (thank you). Now the rest of you/all of you can link it to this post in your minds and possibly go back to the questions above and answer them again. Perhaps your answers will be the same, perhaps after reading my blog covering this topic and giving it thought, you may change your mind/answers. But I encourage you to read my post about pleasing God above people and then come back to this post and answer the questions I posted in here. If it will be easier for you all, I can (if asked) move the questions to the end of the blog I just posted in connection to this one. Let me know. I am here to help!
Last night I was reading a couple of inspirational books God has led me to read to boost my faith and deepen and strengthen my relationship with Jesus and Him as a result. A couple of the things I wrote down came from 2 different books. One was on how to be Victorious and when the author mentioned our victory already being won and to remind Satan of his future when he tries reminding us of past mistakes, I immediately thought of Revelations 20:10. In the other book, Romans 4:18-21 was quoted and it jumped out at me so I wrote it down. The other stuff I wrote down in my notes were thoughts that hit me as I was reading both of these books on my Amazon Kindle. I may edit this later if I can find time to re-format this into a proper blog post, but even as it is now, it is still valuable advice I wrote down for myself and want to share with all of you, my readers. I hope this advice blesses us all and brings a turn around in our favor for each of our situations and trials and that victory is not only mine, but yours too, in every area of your life! I did edit some stuff (changed “I” to “you” or “we” and some other similar changes), but I did not re-format it. If the advice seems confusing as is now, let me know and I will re-format it as soon as I can, otherwise I may leave it as is. The stuff immediately below was not included in the original notes, so I am keeping them separate for now.
Some things to keep in mind when doubt (or fear) creep into your thoughts and try to take over your life:
First of all, they stem from lies Satan tells us through our circumstances, through other people, or whispers in our ears when we are focused on our problems instead of on Jesus. In order to get rid of the strongholds these lies have on us, we must daily study God’s Word to learn the truth (what God says about our situation). It helps to write out the key verses that speak to the specific situation(s) or struggles you are worrying about that are present in your life.
From Defeat to Victory, From Worry and Fear to Faith in God
More things to remember when fears and doubts assail you:
1) King David, even before he became king (after the prophet Samuel anointed him to be king) boldly stated that “the giant” was defying “the armies of the living God” and then asked King Saul if he could fight against Goliath. King Saul eventually said yes, and with nothing more than a sling and a few stones, and a strong and firm faith in God and that God was with Him and had completely prepared him for the battle all those years he clubbed bears and other wild animals that tried to eat his father’s sheep, he completely defeated Goliath. He spoke words of faith and victory before the battle and already saw himself winning through God and that is how he won the battle against the giant named Goliath. Key verses: 1 Samuel 17:26, 32, 34-37, 40-50.
2) Daniel (Book of Daniel) and his 3 friends Hananiah (also called Shadrach), Mishael (also called Meshach) and Azariah (also called Abednego) had a strong deeply rooted faith in God and it saved Daniel’s 3 friends from burning in the 7X heated furnace (Daniel 3:16-30, key verses 16-18 with their statement of faith that their God could rescue them from the furnace, but even if He didn’t, they would not worship the king’s god) and Daniel from the Lion’s mouth in the Lion’s Den (Daniel 6, key verses 21-22 where Daniel explains to King Darius who had come to see if Daniel was alive, that God had found him (Daniel) innocent in His sight, and so had shut the lions’ mouths so they couldn’t harm him). Daniel and his 3 friends prayed several times a day and worshipped only the 1 true God and believed that God could keep them safe from death, and even if not (his friends said “but even if He doesn’t), they would worship only God because He was the only true God (was implied in what they said). And that is also why Daniel would not pray to anyone other than God and refused to stop praying to God even when some administrators tricked king Darius into coming up with a law that for 30 days no one could pray to anyone or anything other than the king. Daniel and his friends were faithful to God the whole time, and as a result, the king reigning in Chapter 3, and the other king who was reigning in chapter 6, both ended up praising Daniel and his friends’ God and made decrees that He was God alone and that no one was to speak a word against their God (chapter 3), or to tremble with fear before the God of Daniel (chapter 6).
- Prayer and strong and deeply rooted faith in God alone is what made David, Daniel, and Daniel’s 3 friends successful in defeating their enemies and death.
- Abraham believed without wavering that God would honor His promise to make him “the father of many nations.” Romans 4:18-21.
- Our victory has already been won. Satan’s end has been set (Revelations 20:10), so I and other believers need to remember this truth, accept it, and live life with this truth as a reality. Satan wants us to think that there is still a chance for him to win the battle, and wants to bring as many people down (to eternity in Hell) with him as he can. The key is to remember that Satan’s future is set and can never be undone, and so his future will happen, but our future is with God and Jesus in Heaven because we took the steps (believed God’s truth when we heard it, repented of our sins, confessed Jesus as our Lord and Savior, got baptized in the name of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit – fully submerged under water for a second, and received the gift of the Holy Spirit as a deposit of the promise of eternal life. The Holy Spirit was given also to guide us along God’s path for our lives) to be made right with God through Jesus and faith with works is what is needed to be made right with Him. Through faith we repented, confessed Jesus as Lord and Savior, through faith we got baptized, and through faith we daily take up our crosses to do the will of God/follow the instructions of Jesus for our lives instead of doing what Satan or our flesh (body) wants us to do. When we keep the victory over Satan (Revelations 20:10) and over death (1 Corinthians 15:54-57) in mind, and remember that Jesus healed many who were sick, blind, deaf, mute, lame, crippled, demon-possessed, and other illnesses and raised the dead and that Jesus was Himself raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit, and that that same Spirit lives inside of us who have been made right with the Lord, then we can have a victorious attitude and live out our faith firmly and strongly. We must speak faith-filled words, words of life, of blessing over ourselves and others in order to see God’s promises come to pass. When we speak positive faith-filled words based on God’s promises, we drive out fear, doubt, worries, anxiety, and it can also drive out depression and other negative emotions that bog us down and produce strongholds based on lies Satan told us that we believed, and when we instead begin believing God’s truth and speaking God’s truth over our lives and the lives of others, those strongholds will be broken and we will be set free. This is one of the purposes of the Holy Spirit – to lead us into all truth and for the truth to set us completely free from all bonds, chains, and strongholds of the Devil.
- When the situations in your life appear to go against what God promises and I am tempted to feel depressed, anxious, defeated, stuck, or anything that goes with fear or a defeated attitude, I turn to Scripture (God’s written Word, full of good promises for hope and a future, for life instead of death) – and you can too and do the following too – to see what God says about my particular situation that I am are worried about, or depressed about and speak God’s truth over my situation (out loud whenever possible, even if only in a whisper) and firmly believe what God says about it instead of the lies. It could be that it is a general promise like “My present troubles are temporary but produce for me a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever. So we don’t look at the things we see now for they will soon be gone, rather we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen, for the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18) You need to believe you’re your current problems/trials/illnesses are all temporary. God also promises in Psalms 30:5 that “God’s anger lasts only a moment, but His favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.” For my sickness, despite what someone else – even another believer might say, the promise in Jeremiah 30:17 is still applicable today, when God says it is – where God declares, “I will give you back your health and heal your wounds.” God might be saying “not yet,” but that does not mean that He is saying “no, not ever.” God only says no when He has a plan for the trial we are going through (including illness), and as soon as the plan is carried out (be it a lesson learned, being a display of God’s mighty power like the blind man Jesus was sent to heal who had been blind from birth, or if we are to help others with the same or similar problems or ailments/illnesses, lack of faith and God is giving us a chance to believe without doubting – for Jesus said “according to your faith may it be done” and “Be encouraged! Your faith has made you well” or whatever the purpose of the trial or illness is), then the healing will be given, the situation will suddenly turn around in your favor unexpectedly and suddenly, and you will see overwhelming victory through Christ because of His love for you.
- And we are not meant to wait until Jesus comes back for a majority of our promises to be fulfilled, only for certain ones, like the promises of no more pain, separation, loss, tears, new bodies that are unperishable and eternal, and some other promises. But there are promises that I will see come to pass in my lifetime here on earth, when I fully believe without doubting, and when God deems it time to. God has a set time for everything (as we all learn in Ecclesiastes, and Isaiah mentioned something about it in Isaiah 61:2), and we need to learn to trust in God’s timing, even when we don’t understand why He is “taking so long” to honor a particular promise or why there was a “sudden delay” when we thought the promise was about to become reality. God’s ways are higher than our ways and He sees the whole picture, while we only see a glimpse of it right now, so He knows better than we do when the time is right to bring a certain promise to pass in our lives.
Truth and Honesty
It is written in Scripture in John 8:31-32, “Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’”
Proverbs 12:19 warns us against lying because lies are exposed, but the truth stands the test of time.
There are other places in the Bible that tell us we are not to lie but to tell the truth/be honest with one another. So why is it that there are people who get mad when someone honest with them? Whether or not one believes in God or Jesus (and you are making a mistake if you do not believe the Truth), they ought to value honesty from others and be honest as well. I will always opt to be honest, because the truth will always be revealed eventually. I am just one who believes that it is best to be honest up front instead of someone finding out the truth later on. That does not make me a bad person, but it means I have morals and values that I stand by. To be angry with me because of my values and beliefs is unfair because I am up front about these things from the beginning. I am not in the habit of hiding who I am from others. I am nowhere near perfect, I make mistakes like everyone else, but I work hard daily to be a better person/daughter of God and follower of His Son Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.
If more people in this world would not only accept the truth from others, but accept God’s truth both in Scripture, and spoken by believers and followers of Christ within the context with which the Scripture was written (with its intended meaning), then there would be no lies or cheating, and lots of other problems would be solved if everybody lived life the way God tells us to in His written Word, the Holy Bible. If we lived how we are supposed to there would be less relationships ending, no problems with poverty, homelessness, or hunger, no more wars – and many other of this world’s problems, along with people’s individual or group problems, would all cease to exist. We would live in peace, harmony, love, and filled with joy always, if we all lived the way Jesus instructs us to. It is the Truth, and acceptance of it and living out the truth in one’s life, the person who does this into a soul-saving relationship with Jesus and one person at a time, could make a positive difference in this fallen world.
I also show concern for those I care about, so do not mistake that for judgment because only Jesus has the right to judge. I guess what they say is right… those who are honest do not have many friends, but they will have the right ones, because true friends can handle honesty and are always honest too. And true friends show concern when someone they care about does something potentially harmful to them either in this life, or in where they end up spending eternity, or both. Jesus tells us in Matthew 28:19-20 to go make disciples and to teach them to obey the commands He gave us. That is what I try to do. I will not be disobedient to God just to please another person, or to prevent them from being offended by God’s truth, which is the Truth. I will. however, keep praying and whenever I can, I will keep trying, to make certain those I care about believe and accept the truth, enter a soul-saving relationship with Jesus, and take up their cross daily to keep their salvation by doing things the way God tells us to instead of doing what we want to do, when it goes against God’s will.
Discomfort From Grieving The Holy Spirit
I was in Las Vegas this weekend past, visiting my father mainly for a belated birthday celebration for me and also for him. I made the mistake of going to church with him instead of either insisting on going to the Church of Christ or finding a ride of my own there and back. My father insisted we had to go to his Episcopal church, Grace in the Desert, so he could be “blessed” for his birthday, which he celebrates April 4th, but apparently missed church or the blessing that previous weekend. should have known something was wrong right then because I have never heard of someone being given a special blessing for their birthday or anniversary. Church is meant to be about worshiping God and hearing God’s message, not to celebrate people! But I hadn’t thought to find a church of Christ until Saturday evening and so I had no time to ask about a ride from the hotel and then back after, so I reluctantly went to my father’s church after breakfast with him.
I felt uncomfortable from the moment service began. There were women deacons and a priesress there, and God tells us in 1 Timothy
“1 Timothy 3:2, 8-12 NLT
So an elder must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach. In the same way, deacons must be well respected and have integrity. They must not be heavy drinkers or dishonest with money. They must be committed to the mystery of the faith now revealed and must live with a clear conscience. Before they are appointed as deacons, let them be closely examined. If they pass the test, then let them serve as deacons. In the same way, their wives must be respected and must not slander others. They must exercise self-control and be faithful in everything they do. A deacon must be faithful to his wife, and he must manage his children and household well.”
Deacons, like elders, must be men, according to the apostle Paul in NT. He also tells us in 1 Corinthians 11:3, “1 Corinthians 11:3 NLT
But there is one thing I want you to know: The head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” And in 1 Timothy 2:11-15 it tells us specifically that women cannot teach men, for Scripture says, “1 Timothy 2:11-15 NLT
Women should learn quietly and submissively. I do not let women teach men or have authority over them. Let them listen quietly. For God made Adam first, and afterward he made Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived by Satan. The woman was deceived, and sin was the result. But women will be saved through childbearing, assuming they continue to live in faith, love, holiness, and modesty.”
They also seemed to metaphorically blow trumpets for the people of the church, by interrupting service midway through to give people with birthdays or anniversaries a blessing, and then towards the end, after communion but before ending hymns and prayer, guests got called out and each one, including me, got personally welcomed. Now do not misunderstand me, it is okay to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries and to welcome visitors, but that should come after service like at my church. They need to understand we are there to worship God and that interrupting to celebrate people is not only distracting, but it sends the wrong message to God, that people come first and not Him. There should be hymn singing, opening prayer, and in some order also communion every Sunday, tithe offering, a message from God, invitation song for those in the audience who may not yet be children of God (or closing song), and closing prayer. Then during announcements, at the end, just before dismissal should be when guests are acknowledged and then perhaps a weekly or monthly lunch or dinner for birthdays and anniversaries. And if the church wants to bless someone on their birthday or anniversary, let them do it after service is over just before dismissal.
Also, service kept getting paused to pray or sing and it sounded more like robots in stereo than true worship and I felt super uncomfortable to the point where I didn’t join in when it was words being recited perfectly and well-rehearsed (but I did join in the singing). God wants true and genuine worship from us, not sounding gongs or cymbals (metaphorically speaking). It just all felt wrong to me and I know it was because the Holy Spirit felt grieved, which we are warned against doing so in 1 Thessalonians 5:19 and Ephesians 4:30:
“1 Thessalonians 5:19 AMP
Do not quench (suppress or subdue) the [Holy] Spirit.
Ephesians 4:30 NIV
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
Making a big deal out of congregation members and guests in the middle of worshiping God is not what God wants from us and that is the exact impression I got from the Holy Spirit and from God the whole time I was there at that church. They also didn’t have any bibles, but had handouts that had everything to follow along with service, prayer books, and hymn books for the singing parts of service. How can you have a church service without the Bible, which is God’s written word? What about visitors who may come thay have never opened a bible? How are they supposed to know that the Scriptures auoted in the pamphlets handed out before service contain God’s written word and not just words the preacher made up? As it was, there was some Scripture quoted, but someone who has previously never heard God’s word before would not know that.
I has wanted to leave right away, but I didn’t know what bus route to take back to the strip, to where my hotel was and had nowhere to go. I had meant to say something to the Priestess after coming out of the ladies room (I had to go after communion so I did), but I chickened out. And I have felt guilty about it ever since. I may even look up their number to call them and let them know or send them an anonymous letter, if I can find their address online. They need to know the Holy Spirit is grieved and God ia displeased by their practices there at the church. Honestly, it was because I had forgotten my Bible and left it in my hotel room and had no Scripture backup that I left without saying a word. I feared sounding arrogant or judgmental. As soon as I am able to do so, I hope to find a way to let the church know how I felt (from the Holy Spirit) during their service on Sunday.
I did however, let my father know, when he asked me how I liked the service. I told him how I felt uncomfortable the whole time and that women are not supposed to be deacons or Priestess. When I finished telling him what I wish I had told the Priestess, he said, “and that’s that.” He obviously didn’t agree even though I was merely telling him what God told us through the apostle Paul in the NT Scripture.
Then I had lunch with my mom’s (may she be resting peacefully in the arms of Jesus) best friend who lives in Vegas, but had a chance to go to my hotel room first after service and grab my bible in case I needed it. She also asked me what I thought of the church service I went to and told her what I told my father, but this time I got my bible out, and with her encouragement, I read the Scriptures that said deacons can only be men. Before I read the Scriptures, she called me judgmental, and then afterwards, she tried telling me that the Scriptures I read were meant for that specific period in time and didn’t apply today. She thinks we should be tolerant of other people’s different religions and beliefs, even though Jesus never told us to do that and neither did God. In fact, we are told in Ephesians 4:4-6 that there is only “One body and one Holy Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.”
I told her I was just obeying what the Bible says and she tried telling me “which was written by man,” to which I replied, “The words were inspired by God.” My mom’s friend merely shrugged at that point. I don’t think she agrees with everything the Bible says, which is unfortunate for her since she told me that she believes if Jesus came back today or tomorrow, she is ready.
Later, as she dropped me off back at my hotel, she told me she was pleased with my volunteer work I told her I do at the local library near my sister’s house, and the work I do for God with church and all, which means she respects me following and also standing up for what I believe in.
I hope that telling my father and my mom’s friend, this blog, and also admitting my sin against God in not speaking up at church, praying for strength, courage, spiritual wisdom and understanding and knowledge with Scripture backup to gently correct misinformed people and those who do not know God, and to teach God’s word (outside of church, where women are allowed to do so) without fear and also askiw for God’s forgiveness in letting fear stop me were all enough to reach God’s heart to receive forgiveness. I hope He has forgiven me and will help me out in the areas I need help with to teach His word to others without fear and with knowledge of the Scriptures and actual Scripture backup so in the future, I don’t even hesitate to gently correct people who are doing something that goes against God’s word in a way that does not sound judgmental, but that reaches their hearts and where they understand in their conscious minds and change their ways while they have time, before it is too late for them. I also need strong unshakable faith and pray to God all the time for it, so I can boldly (without fear) correct or teach God’s word to everyone: friends, family, close friends, and strangers, and to churches that are not correctly teaching God’s word, to those who refuse to acknowledge God’s existence, or have either no information or wrong information about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Bible, and church worship.
I also pray for all of you who may be reading this to have the courage, knowledge, and understanding of Scripture to preach God’s word boldly to others, and to gently but firmly enlighten or rebuke those who either teach falsely or have wrong information, or have done something that goes against God in a way that brings a change of heart to the person hearing God’s words spoken through you, so they may be saved. I offer this prayer in Jesus’ name! May God be with you all.