I used to work very hard to please all the people around me. I learned what it took to make my professors happy in college and completed my work to the best of my ability. I learned what made my bosses happy at work and made the necessary changes to do my job the way they wanted it done. Even though I knew it is impossible to please everyone, I still tried. I've been learning over time; however, that I've been trying to please the wrong people for the wrong reasons. When I look at it from a Biblical perspective and see that God is the Only One whom I should be working to please, I realize that I have formed a new version of idolatry. Please read Ephesians 5:8-14.
Earlier this week, I studied about what shapes our identity and how that can show where our priorities lie. Whatever priority takes place of God becomes an idol to us. That may sound harsh or too "black and white," but if I have placed something in God's place (such as striving to please people), then it is idolatry. We are told in verse 10 to "Carefully determine what pleases the Lord." We are not told to determine what pleases God and then see if it makes the people around us happy. This is because, when we choose to please God, it will not always please the people around us. We are told in these verses that people living in the light find out what pleases God.
The Greek word for "carefully determine" is dokimazō, which means to scrutinize, to test, to examine, or to deem worthy (please see footnote 1.). To me, this implies that we spend considerable time finding out what pleases God, and I think the best way to find out is reading the Bible. When we carefully determine what pleases God, the light within us shines on the areas in our lives that don't match up with what we are reading in the Bible. It seems that God shines light on an area He wants changed in my life on a daily basis and they are not always easy things to change. But I want to live a life that pleases Him, so I am willing to continue lining up my life to match what He desires.
Paul goes even further by telling us that we shouldn't just find out what pleases God, but we should stay away from the things that are dark or evil. Not only should we stay away from those things, but we shouldn't even talk about it! I wonder if this is because it takes our focus off what we should be looking at. Even if we don't intend to do those things, our focus is all wrong. We are told in Philippians 4:8-9 that we should "fix" our thoughts on the things that are pleasing to God. The Greek word for "fix" is logizomai, which means to take into account, to reckon, to weigh, or to meditate on (see footnote 2.). Doesn't that word seem to go well with "carefully determine?" After we have found what pleases God, we are to fix our thoughts on those things.
Do your thoughts and behavior match up with what pleases God?
Linking up with Thought Provoking Thursday and Experiencing the Love of Koinonia.
1. Blue Letter Bible. "Dictionary and Word Search for dokimazō (Strong's 1381)". Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 2 Nov 2011. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?
2. Blue Letter Bible. "Dictionary and Word Search for logizomai (Strong's 3049)". Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 2 Nov 2011. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?