“Nevertheless, God was not well-pleased with most of them, for they were scattered along the ground in the wilderness [because their lack of self-control led to disobedience which led to death].”
1 CORINTHIANS 10:5 AMP
One day, after a mathematics class, one of my students walked up to me with a sad expression on her face. I asked her what the matter was, and was taken aback by the question she asked me. “Uncle”, she said, “what is the goal of salvation?” When I probed further to really know what she was really asking me about, she explained that she really wanted to know what salvation should achieve in a person’s life. Being short of time, and having to close the school gate, I quickly rushed her to Romans 8 vs. 29, and showed her that salvation was supposed to achieve in a life the formation of the Life of Jesus in that man. Though afterwards, I had to sit down and write a well worded letter to her, explaining the realities of salvation.
Naturally, we were raised to think that the full essence of our Christian faith is to make it to Heaven at last. Though that is a worthy purpose, but that is not the central theme of scriptures. We look forward to to Heaven, and to the blessing of sitting and reigning with our Lord Jesus for ever. However, God has this ultimate goal, the restoration of Eden in man, both positionally and practically. God wants men who, in their daily lives, are like Jesus. Not just men who will ‘manage’ to get to Heaven counting on the redemptive Grace of Calvary, but men who will represent Him in all things. These are the men who give Him a reason to rejoice. These are the men who really please Him.
Pleasing the Lord does not mean that you have attained the fullness of Christ-likeness. For example, every earthly father looks forward to the time when his son will have his feet firmly planted on the earth, and so can walk without falling. However, each little step the child takes rising and falling, while learning to walk, gives the father pleasure. It is not the attainment of the highest goal that brings joy, but a continual improvement and progression towards the goal that brings the father pleasure.
So also is our Heavenly Father. He will not settle for anything less that Christ-likeness in your life, however, each little step you take advancing in God, each decision you make to live for His glory, gives Him a reason for joy.
That was the failure of the castaways. They never gave the father a reason for joy. They never brought Him pleasure. They never improved in anything. They were just there going through life, banking on the grace of being Israelites to see them through. The scriptures say that with some of them, God was not pleased.
Forget all the quarrels about eternal salvation, forget all the arguments about whether a Christian can lose his faith or not. Permit me to ask you, is your life giving the Father a reason for joy? Let me warn you, don’t cover this question with the theological jargon of how your being hidden in Christ and the fact that Jesus pleased the Father is accrued to your account. Yes, we are where we are because of what Jesus has done for us, but are you getting better day by day? Are you gaining new heights everyday? Or are you just on one spot in your spiritual journey, marking time.
To make Heaven is no much big deal. It was paid for by the blood of Christ. Even the thief at the cross got to Heaven. The real sweat, the real discipline is in the life we live daily. Two of my young ones resigned from their place of work because of sexual advances from their boss. They preferred to lose their job and monthly income than to sell their bodies for earthly benefits, and sin against the Lord. Others would have done it, and later ask God for forgiveness, God would have forgiven them, and they would have made it to Heaven at last, but they would not have pleased God. I was so proud of them when I heard what they did, and I know that God was also pleased.
The ultimate motivation in life is not just to make Heaven, but to please God. That is why I was created, that is all that matters. Each decisions I take daily, each choices I am making, each clothes that I have to wear, each comments I am to make, the ultimate motivation is this, will God be happy with me?
Those who were castaway suffered that loss, because their lives did not please God. I mean their lives, the lives they lived daily did not glorify God. I pray that the story will be different for us, that in out daily lives and choices, we will give the Lord a reason for joy. Amen.
PRAYER: Father, I am sorry for the times in my life when I did not bring you pleasure with my life and choices. Thank you for your patience with me. I receive the Grace, from now henceforth, to live that kind of life that brings you pleasure; for I was created for that purpose. Amen.
For further reading: 2 Corinthians 5 vs. 9-10; 2 Timothy 2 vs. 4; 1 Thessalonians 2 vs. 12; 2 Thessalonians 1 vs. 11-12.