Find out what pleases the Lord ~ Ephesians 5:10
Have you ever found out what pleases God? Ever wondered what God wants anyway? For some ‘the word of the Lord becomes do and do, do and do, rule on rule, rule on rule; a little here, a little there’ (Isaiah 28:13). However, the repercussions in doing what we think is right or good is that ‘they will go and fall backwards, be injured and snared and captured’ (v13). So this begs the question, what does God want? For starters, the Bible says, ‘Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings’ (Hebrews 13:9) or as John puts it, ‘Do not let anyone lead you astray’ (1 John 3:7). After taking this first step, we still haven’t known what God wants. So how then can we really know what God wants? The answer is simple. We can’t. And even though we get an inkling of what we think God wants, we still can’t give Him what He wants.
‘You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world’
Essentially, only God knows God. No one else knows Him or what He really wants. Paul writes, ‘No one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God’ (1 Corinthians 2:11). What Paul is alluding to is that no matter what lengths one goes to know God, it all remains futile because there is no way we can know God. But . . . there is hope. There is ONE way in which man can know God, even the deep things of God- and that is through His Spirit. ‘The Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you’ (John 16:15). When one receives the Spirit of God, then they can know God, what He wants and accept the things of God.
‘The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that comes from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned’
(1 Corinthians 2:14)
One may ask, how then can I receive the Spirit of God? It is only by accepting the One He sent can we receive His Spirit. Jesus says, ‘If you knew me, you would know my Father also . . . if you hold my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free’ (John 8:19, 31-32). What is truth anyway? In John 16, Jesus mentions truth as a Spirit. ‘When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth’ (v13). In other words, God will guide you to Himself because He is the only truth.
Once we receive Christ, we receive God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit and then we can know Him. However, this is not a one-off event but requires intentionality and for ‘the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil’ (Hebrews 5:14). Jude also points to the intentionality once we receive God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit. He writes ‘Build yourselves up in the most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit’ (Jude 1:20).
When we receive God’s Spirit, we not only know who God is and what He wants, but we are able to distinguish other spirits than that of God which have gone out into the world. Most importantly, we are able to be imitators of Christ, as our ‘attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 2:5) and by the power of God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit that ‘works in us, we are able both to will and do his good pleasure’ (v13). This becomes important ‘because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God’ (Romans 8:14).
‘Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realise that Christ Jesus is in you – unless, of course, you fail the test?’ ~ 2 Corinthians 13:5
‘Do not be deceived; neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God’ ~ Romans 6:9-10