This post was inspired by some commenters I encountered, a few weeks ago, who each expressed that they considered themselves “born again” believers, yet over the past year or so they’ve been experiencing a great deal of dread because they keep falling back into some of their old sinful ways. The commenters wanted to know how they could truly break these sinful habits and truly please God ? I would venture to say that there are many other people who find themselves asking the same question.
So let’s start by taking a look at what displeases God:
16 These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
I John 2:15-17
15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
God is our Creator and He loves ALL of the people of the world, however He hates the sinful ways that influence the world system. The things listed in the scriptures above displease God because He desires to have two-way communication with men and women in a loving Fatherly manner, but sin leads to people feeling self-sufficient; And when people feel self-sufficient they are “sitting ducks” to be corrupted and ultimately destroyed by the Wicked One.
For a professing believer, there are Usually two factors that contribute to us continuing to struggle with sinful strongholds:
1). The shame of attempting to hide sinful deeds from God and the people who truly love us.
2). The pride of attempting to justify continuing to do sinful things, that we know God is displeased with.
Many of us hear the Gospel, the Holy Spirit draws us to God, but then we’ve got some pleasurable sinful routines or some old grudges against others that we don’t want to turn loose of..So when the Holy Spirit moves in; we try to hide these things in the back closet of our heart; And when conviction comes many of us will attempt to justify to God why our feelings/actions are valid.
In Galatians 5:16-17, the Apostle Paul makes mention of the war between our sinful flesh and our spirit. He then goes on to warn of the eternal consequences of people surrendering to the lusts of their flesh in Galatians 19-21. For the “born again” believer, attempting to cover-up or justify our sins will cost us rewards when we appear before Jesus Christ at the Judgment Seat of the Just.(II Corinthians 5:10, I Corinthians 3:11-15).
While it is important to have a righteous fear of God, which is to say that we respect the fact that He is the Creator of all things and the ultimate authority; And while the Bible paints a horrifying picture of Hell and the lake of fire and brimstone as the final destination for those who choose to reject the gift of salvation…I believe there is a stronger motivator that will push men and women to truly want to flee from their sinful ways and please God day in and day out.
So what is the secret to breaking free of old sinful ways and truly pleasing God?
It is when we truly realize and embrace the truth that God loved us first. When the poison of sin would have doomed mankind forever, God’s love moved Him to send His only begotten Son to redeem us. He created each and every one of us with our own gifts, talent’s and life purpose. God then advises us, in His Holy Word, of the rewards of receiving His gift and the consequences of turning it down…And then He allows us to make our own decision as to what path we want to choose.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
I John 4:18-20
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
19 We love him, because he first loved us.
20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
Nothing in life will make sense if we don’t start with God’s love for us. God is a loving Father and the truest friend a person could ever have. Because I love Jesus, and I know that if it had not been for Him, I’d probably be gone…And burning in Hell. But Christ’s love appeared to me. One day, my grandmother and uncle told me about Jesus and His great love for me; And I pledged my love to Him. Now my life says, “Lord, above everything I love You, because You first loved me. So when something goes on in my life, I will be diligent to not let that affect the love that I have for You, God.”
If we don’t start with that, then our faith is not going to work, because faith works by love. If we don’t start with “Lord, I love You, I know that You first loved me enough to die on the cross for my sins.” If we don’t start there, then we will allow the negative things that happen to eat away at our love and affection for God; And pretty soon, we won’t want to be in church, our prayer life will start becoming slack, and those sinful habits will weaken our witness and cause us to be a stumblingblock to other people or worse…lead us away from even having any desire to please and glorify God.
We can’t afford to let anything start eating away at our ability to believe God. I still believe that living for Jesus is the right way. I still believe that God is the only One who is able to make me abound with blessing. I still believe that God keeps me in health. When I face challenges, I will go to God and say, “Lord, I don’t understand this? Please give me understanding and strength.” And He may respond that I’ve engaged in some bad practices and opened the door to some consequences, or He may not say anything. When He doesn’t say anything, we can put the request on our spiritual shelf, and trust God in the waiting, because our believing is too important. Anything is possible to him that believes.
Pleasing God comes down to the question of: God’s love for us was so strong that He sent Jesus to redeem us. Do we love Him enough to make Him our top priority?
Jesus did not instruct us to “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.“, because God is a power hungry dictator. This instruction was issued because Satan’s influence, our own sinful pride, and the influences of this corrupt world system is too strong for any person to overcome in their own human strength. When we truly love God, and sincerely desire to make Him our top priority; our mindset will shift to wanting to let go of those wicked works that displease Him.
God is alive and wants to dwell in our hearts. But for Him to remain in our midst it is important that we have a change of attitude. God cannot dwell in the heart of someone who takes pleasure in lying or willfully lives in sin. Therefore, it is necessary that we turn away from sinful practices and that we dedicate ourselves in faith.
The kingdom of God is reached by those who strive and cling to it; and the first step is the cleansing of our hearts.
The lust for power, the drinking, the drugs, the profane language, the fist fighting, the sleeping around, the pornography, the homosexual lifestyle, the love of money, the bullying of others…While it may be gratifying to the flesh; All of that stuff is only temporary. Feeling God’s love and loving Him back…Now that’s true fulfillment that brings joy in this mortal life and throughout eternity!
In James 4:8, the apostle James shows us the importance of purifying our hearts to draw closer to the Father.
First, James tells sinners that they must clean their hands. This tells us that we need to review our actions. We must turn our hands towards the practice of good works, our attitudes must be consistent with what we believe; And this is how our life will produce the fruits of the spirit(Galatians 5:22-
Another highlight is the importance of purifying our hearts. To purify the heart is to have firm faith in Christ. When we meditate and hear the Word of God all the impurities of doubt go away. By strengthening our faith, our heart focuses only on Christ, there is no more room for a divided mind.
This change of attitude, proposed by James, brings good results: we draw near to God and He draws near to us. He loves us and wants to be with us, but this change in attitude needs to happen for us to be filled with His power.
Draw close to God, and He will draw close to you:
If you have asked Jesus Christ to be your Lord and savior, then you have taken the most important step to pleasing God. Sin is a horrible monster that can only be overcome when a person gets saved and has the Holy Spirit dwelling within them.
When we get saved, we are fit for Heaven, however God knows that there are sinful ways that His Spirit will need to work with us on dealing with. Always remember that God loves us, and will forgive us if we sincerely repent of our wrong doings and ask Him to strengthen us.
Pray daily and ask the Lord to reveal to you the things that you are doing that displease Him; And ask the Holy Spirit to help you with humility to let go of these sinful ways. This may even include getting a Christian accountability partner(s), that you trust and whom truly wants to see you grow in your faith, to call you out when they see you going down the wrong road.
If you are reading this and do not know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, I would like to extend this invitation to you to receive the gift of salvation today. You can do so by praying and truly believing the prayer below, or by praying to God in your own Words.
I confess that I have sinned against You, and I know that there is nothing I can do by my own efforts to change my condition. I believe that Jesus Christ shed His blood and died on the cross for my sins; And that He rose from the grave on the Third Day to grant me eternal life. I know You love me, God, and I love You. I place my faith and trust only in You to conform my heart to Your will; And to order my steps everyday, from this day forward. Thank You , Lord, for saving me.