You may read this title and think, “Wait. What? But I’m supposed to please God, right?” Absolutely! The thing is, it’s not the pleasing He wants you to stop, it’s the trying.
In an effort to live a good Christian life, we like to set goals or make vows. We say things like, “I’m going to read three chapters of the Bible and pray for thirty minutes a day.” Or we vow to stop smoking or losing our temper. When we fail to meet these goals, we become discouraged and depressed.
Jesus said, “Come to me, all who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28*). If you feel like you’re dragging a heavy load of spiritual obligations, there’s another way – a better way – God’s way.
Soak up the Son-shine
Do you know the feeling you get when you’ve been through a long, cold, wet, or snowy winter and Spring finally comes? You can’t wait to get outside, sit in the sun, and let its warmth envelope you. You’re not anxious to do anything but relax and let the dregs of winter melt away.
He means for our spiritual life to be just like that.
Jesus said His yoke is easy and His burden light. One translation says, “For my yoke is sweet and my burden light” (Matt. 11:30**).
Before we do anything for Him, He wants us to sit in the Son-shine, basking in His presence and absorbing the sweet warmth of His love. He wants to wash away the dregs of our sin life. When we allow His Spirit to saturate us, everything we do for Him will be a peaceful and easy outflow of His love. We’ll want to do what pleases Him and there won’t be any trying involved.
Presence before pleasing
He wants us to develop a pattern of presence before pleasing. We can see this pattern in Jesus’ life. “He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him” (John 8:29). Jesus was with the Father first, and the result was that His works were always pleasing to God.
Practically speaking, how does this work? Let’s say your goal is to read the Bible more. If you spend time in His presence, letting Him drench you in His love, you’ll want to learn more about this extravagant love He shares. Where will you find out more? By reading the Word. Like the Bereans, you’ll be eager to search the Scriptures (Acts 17:11). It won’t feel like a Christian chore.
Maybe you’re having trouble forgiving someone who hurt you. As you spend time with God, the sins buried in your own heart will bubble to the surface. As they do, it will become harder and harder to hold a grudge against the other person. You’ll begin to grasp the fact that you’re equally crippled by sin, and equally in need of a savior. By spending time with God, you’ll begin to see that person the way He does.
Maybe you’re wondering exactly how you can sit and soak up the Son-shine. How can you learn to just be with God? Stay tuned. We’ll talk about that in the next part of this series.
*GOD’S WORD® is a copyrighted work of God’s Word to the Nations. Quotations are used by permission. Copyright 1995 by God’s Word to the Nations. All rights reserved.
**Douay-Rheims Bible Courtesy BereanBible.com © 2013, 2014 Used by Permission