“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”
By Reverend ray
“Pleasures are like poppies spread, you nip the bud; the bloom is fled.
Like snow flakes upon a river, a moment white; then gone forever.”
(Talmage, T. Dewitt; “Crumbs swept up”)
In a recent conversation with my son, we were discussing the motives behind confessing sin. The principal question considered was; Is confession prompted by our desire to be pleasing in the sight of God or simply from a selfish concern to alleviate the pressures of guilt and the conscience? How one answers this question reveals much of where pleasure is focused.
The writer of the book of Hebrews gives us a look into the motive behind true faith by stating that He is a God that must be pleased and that He must be pleased on His terms.
Faith is intimated as the vehicle through which one pleases God, but one who exercises this faith must be consciously seeking to please Him. The atheist has no need of faith because he simply has no desire to please God and therefore finds it more convenient to deny His existence than to concern himself with pleasing God.
In short we might say that it all revolves around the object of our pleasure.
If faith then is the medium through which pleasure finds its fulfillment in delighting in God, then we could conclude that the expression or exercise of faith is motivated by this want to please God.
What we must ask ourselves is whether or not the faith we claim to exercise finds its prompting in this desire to please God. Many times what we might call faith is merely an impulse of guilt or an impetus of selfish pleasure.
This is seen in the lives of those who make a pronouncement of personal faith in God purely from an incentive to gain benefit from God or appease guilts incurred. There is no motive of pleasure in God or pleasing Him that sparks the faith because this has not been aroused in the heart of the person.
We live in a culture that is consumed with self pleasure. Markets and businesses fan the flame of self love through advertising ploys. The philosophy of modern music builds its propositions on the lust of people in love with themselves.
The pursuit of mankind has become pleasure itself. It truly is the driving force behind most of the modern lifestyle. But, lest I seem to imply that such a demeanor is unusual to the nature of man, let it be understood that this has been man’s bias since the earliest of time.
Adam was acting on a motive to please himself when he fell from grace and plunged all of humanity into a nature that was bent on pleasing himself rather than God.
What is more tragic is that Christianity has come to mimic at this age, those words that the Apostle Paul warned Timothy which ring ever more accurate in describing those who would live in the later days; “For men will be lovers of themselves….. lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God” (II Tim. 3:1-4)
My concern here is that this same impetus of self love and love for pleasure is become the motive behind the contemporary faith. Christianity has become a glutton of self indulgence in seeking to satisfy its own pleasures rather than a consecrated life whose stimulus is making glad the heart of God.
By marketing Christ and faith as a reservoir for getting from God all one’s pleasures satisfied, we have taken our focus off the object of faith which has always been to please God and turned it to ourselves.
Let me remind us that the writer of Hebrews has made it implicit that faith has behind it the overwhelming desire to please God. Whether we are confessing sin to God or living out our lives among our neighbors, faith finds its authenticity in a heart that is first consumed with pleasing God.
Talmage in the quote above puts pleasures that our rooted in this world into perspective. The pleasures that this world is consumed with are fleeting, false satisfactions that are rendered non-negotiable in the realm of eternity.
Equally, a faith that is motivated by penchant toward selfish pleasure will never see God as a palatable reward. True faith finds its pleasure and fulfillment in God alone.
As John Piper has said; “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”
Dribble from the pen