Evangelist, Chouteau Hills Church of Christ
Man often makes the mistake of assuming that if he likes something, God will like it too. “If I enjoy worshiping a certain way, then surely God will appreciate it. If a certain activity makes me happy, then it will make God happy.” But such thinking is erroneous. Just because I like something does not mean that God will like it.
My wife and I are very close. Yet, there are things that I like very much that she does not like. For example, plums are my favorite fruit, but she does not care for them. I love bass boats, but if I bought her a new bass boat for her birthday, thinking she would like it since I do, I would be in big trouble! She doesn’t like everything that I like.
The same is true with God. In Isaiah 55:8-9, we find, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” We need to recognize the fact that what pleases man may not please God. Paul recognized that fact as he wrote in Galatians 1:10, “For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.” He knew that if he always tried to please men, he would not please God.
When King Saul and his army defeated the Amalekites, they assumed that God would like to have the best animals and other things offered as sacrifices unto Him. But they were mistaken. Samuel said in I Samuel 15:22, “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice.” God is more concerned about our submitting to His commands than He is about our willingness to make great sacrifices. Obedience is of supreme importance!
Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 12:13, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man's all.” In Matthew 7, Jesus teaches that many who claim to have taught in His name and done many wonders in His name will be lost. The reason is because they did not do His father’s will (Matthew 7:21). It is not enough just to be religious; we must be obedient to God’s will.
Many of the Jews in Paul’s day were lost in sin because they did not know God’s will. In Romans 10:1-3, Paul wrote, “Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.” They did what they thought was right, rather than doing what God said was right.
Notice that they were hard working and zealous. They were doing what they thought God wanted them to do. Paul could certainly relate to that, because he had been in the same situation before he learned God’s will. He wrote in Acts 26:9, “Indeed, I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.”
Jesus said in John 8:32, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” God’s word is truth (John 17:17), and God’s word is His power to save everyone who believes (Romans 1:16). Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 2:4 that God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
We are warned in Proverbs 14:12, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” When you hear a preacher or a teacher, be like the Bereans, who searched the Scriptures daily to see whether those things were so (Acts 17:11).
Don’t make the mistake of blindly accepting the ideas and doctrines of man. “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” (2 Peter 3:18).