How Can We Be “Fully Pleasing” to Jehovah?
TODAY, how few are concerned about whether their thoughts, words, and deeds are pleasing to God! Even those professing such concern largely appear to be rendering God mere lip service. In fact, it can be said of the great majority: “They are not pleasing God.”—1 Thessalonians 2:15.
Some professed Christians feel that as long as they do not break the Ten Commandments, they are pleasing to God. But not so! Our Exemplar Jesus Christ said of God: “I always do the things pleasing to him.” (John 8:29) Yes, he pleased his Father by doing certain things. Positive action is required, even as can be seen from the apostle Paul’s prayer in behalf of his fellow believers at Colossae. He prayed that they might “walk worthily of Jehovah to the end of fully pleasing him as [they went] on bearing fruit in every good work.”—Colossians 1:9, 10.
Yet, is it really possible to be “fully pleasing” to Jehovah? Well, being imperfect, Christians cannot now please God perfectly. However, they can earnestly work in that direction, with the objective of “fully pleasing” him. Since Paul mentioned “bearing fruit in every good work,” positive works are involved. Of course, we cannot here outline all such activities. But we can provide some food for thought. If these points indicate that there are certain areas of life in which you should make some adjustments, be assured that Jehovah will bless your efforts to please him. The fact is that “fully pleasing” Jehovah does require that we guard our thoughts, words, and actions.
What About Our Thoughts?
God’s Word tells us that “there is not a creation that is not manifest to his sight, but all things are naked and openly exposed to the eyes of him with whom we have an accounting.” (Hebrews 4:13) Neither humans nor demons can read our thoughts, but God can. That being so, we want our very thoughts to be pleasing to him. So we do well to ask ourselves: What do I like to think about when not required to apply my mind to the work at hand? What is the pole, as it were, to which the needle of my mind’s compass naturally swings?
We might also ask: Do I like to build castles in the air and dream of enjoying wealth, fame, or praise because of my exploits? Do I think negatively, such as dwelling on grievances, going over them again and again? Do I tend to let my thoughts dwell almost continually on the pleasures of sex? Or am I always filling my mind with plans and schemes to make money?
Now consider: Can we be “fully pleasing” to Jehovah by filling our minds with such thoughts? Of course not! So through earnest prayer and with God’s help, drive them out by filling the mind with good, positive, wholesome, chaste, and lovable thoughts. (Philippians 4:8) How much better for us to discipline our minds so as to think about things that relate to our worship of Jehovah! Think of God’s Kingdom, so near at hand. Call to mind points recently learned from God’s Word. Go over the subject matter to be considered at coming congregation meetings, and especially any parts you may have on the program. Give thought to how you can improve your field ministry. Remember that you are, first of all, a Christian minister.
Some have been helped by going over scriptures they have memorized, as well as by humming Kingdom songs. As a reminder, one Christian minister found it helpful to make up and think about this rhyme:
“O God, please help me to submit,
To what your will and love permit.
O may I never once rebel,
Since you are doing all things well.”
Yes, keep on praying as did King David of old: “Let the . . . meditation of my heart become pleasurable”—that is, pleasing—“before you, O Jehovah.”—Psalm 19:14.
What About Our Words?
David also prayed: “Let the sayings of my mouth . . . become pleasurable before you, O Jehovah.” (Psalm 19:14) As we learn from James 3:2-12, only a perfect man can fully bridle the tongue. But strive to control it we must if we would be “fully pleasing” to Jehovah.
We speak many words every day, and, of course, we cannot expect to limit our statements to Scriptural subjects. Regardless of what we happen to be talking about, however, we can be mindful of pleasing Jehovah. For example, we know that profanity, obscenities, or coarse and vulgar speech could not possibly please our heavenly Father. So we should avoid such speech.—Ephesians 5:3, 4.
Then again, if we would be pleasing our Maker fully as regards our speech, we must be careful not to say slanderous, derogatory things about others. Concerning us, it should be possible to say: “He has not slandered with his tongue. To his companion he has done nothing bad, and no reproach has he taken up against his intimate acquaintance.” Even though we may be suffering injustices, we should be careful to “speak injuriously of no one.”—Psalm 15:3; Titus 3:2.
What opportunities we have to be “fully pleasing” to Jehovah as to our speech at mealtimes! Naturally, this is no time for angry words or upsetting speech. There are so many fine things to discuss! Especially should we be alert to such opportunities if we are guests or have guests. So often the most talkative rather than the mature Christians dominate the conversation. Will you be having a Christian guest with many years of experience in the full-time ministry? Is he very knowledgeable about God’s Word? Then use discernment to draw him out. “Counsel in the heart of a man is as deep waters, but the man of discernment is one that will draw it up,” to the benefit of all present.—Proverbs 20:5.
Additionally, to be “fully pleasing” to Jehovah in our speech, we should be alert to opportunities for informal witnessing about God’s name and Kingdom. In fact, at times a Christian minister may accomplish much by such informal witnessing. However, the primary way to please Jehovah by our speech, while also blessing others, is by going from house to house with the Kingdom message.—Acts 20:20.
For our words to be “fully pleasing” to Jehovah when we engage in the Christian field ministry, we must keep striving to improve our presentation of the Kingdom message. Having been entrusted with the “good news,” we, like the apostle Paul, want to “speak, as pleasing, not men, but God, who makes proof of our hearts.” And not to be overlooked is the obligation to use our lips to make public confession of our faith at Christian meetings, where we can incite others to love and fine works.—1 Thessalonians 2:4; Hebrews 10:23-25.
“Fully Pleasing” Jehovah by Our Conduct and Deeds
For us to be “fully pleasing” to Jehovah, we must also be careful about our daily conduct, including our recreation. Yes, even when we seek recreation, we cannot afford to leave God out of the picture. Does that seem extreme? Not at all, for Paul said: “Whether you are eating or drinking or doing anything else, do all things for God’s glory.” We must keep in mind the warning that “those who are in harmony with the flesh cannot please God.” So, above all else, our recreation should be wholesome.—1 Corinthians 10:31; Romans 8:8.
Nor may we overlook the factors of moderation and timing. To be “fully pleasing” to Jehovah, we must keep recreation in its place, as something incidental and not of paramount importance. Never should we pursue recreation, be it watching a special TV program or going to a sports event, to the point of letting it encroach upon our attending Christian meetings or sharing regularly in the field ministry.—Matthew 6:33.
“Fully pleasing” Jehovah also includes the doing of good to our Christian brothers, as we can find opportunity and as there is need. In this regard, we read: “Do not forget the doing of good and the sharing of things with others, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” The apostle Paul said that the kindness the Philippian Christians showed him was “an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God.”—Hebrews 13:16; Philippians 4:18.
How can children be “fully pleasing” to Jehovah as regards their conduct? Paul shows that a very significant way is by obeying their parents “in union with the Lord.” He also says: “You children, be obedient to your parents in everything, for this is well-pleasing in the Lord.”—Ephesians 6:1-3; Colossians 3:20.
All dedicated servants of God have experienced so much loving-kindness from Jehovah and his earthly channel that, out of sheer love and gratitude, we should always be concerned with being “fully pleasing” to him. Surely, loving gratitude requires that we do not “accept the undeserved kindness of God and miss its purpose.” (2 Corinthians 6:1) Being concerned with pleasing Jehovah fully is also the just, the right, thing to do, since he is the Universal Sovereign. Moreover, seeking to be “fully pleasing” to Jehovah is the wisest course, for doing so is beneficial to us now and holds promise of the life to come.—1 Timothy 4:8.
Yes, we want to guard our thoughts, our words, and our conduct and deeds. With Jehovah’s help, this we will do so as to please him ever more fully. And in doing so, let us not give up. Instead, may we always heed the apostle Paul’s counsel to Christians at Thessalonica: “Finally, brothers, we request you and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, just as you received the instruction from us on how you ought to walk and please God, just as you are in fact walking, that you would keep on doing it more fully.”—1 Thessalonians 4:1.
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Do not let recreation encroach on Christian activity