March 17, 2016

Always learning . . .

"God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure." The website for Eric Liddell says that this line was actually written by Colin Welland as part of his script for the film Chariots of Fire, but is widely misrepresented as having been said by Eric Liddell in real life.

Though this may be correct, the concept of “feeling God’s pleasure” is still a true and wonderful reality for Christians. The Bible often says we are to please God. This is commanded as a goal for life and we can know when we do . . .

So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. (2 Corinthians 5:6–10)

Sometimes I don’t have a chapter and verse to tell me I’ve done exactly the right thing, God often assures it by giving me a sense of His pleasure. That is not to be confused with being happy with myself. Feeling the pleasure of God comes with a certainty that God was involved. He commands and gives what is needed to do what I must do, and I know it.  Even though joyful, this is a most humbling experience.

Making His pleasure the aim of life requires focus, which is not one of my strong points. My scattered mind is quick to stray off of any set goal, never mind this high ideal. However, sensing His pleasure is such an incredible reward in the task of pleasing Him that it tends to motivate me and aid my focus.

Chambers suggest taking stock at least once a week to examine how I am doing in keeping up to this lofty goal. I find that “continually” is better than weekly. Chambers also says “Paul is like a musician who does not heed the approval of the audience if he can catch the look of approval from his Master.” Using the same analogy, it seems to me that the musician must keep his eye on his conductor all the time, rather than take for granted that he knows what he is doing without paying attention to his leader.

If my work, even my ambition moves slightly off of this focus of “pleasing God” then the music of my life goes instantly off-key. I know where my personal ambition leads. I know why I need to continually face the Lord Jesus Christ. If I go off-key too often, God’s displeasure puts a cloud over everything. This disciple of focus is very important!

But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:27)

No one wants to be “disqualified.” Besides that, Chambers says all of life must relate to that ambitious goal of pleasing God, and maintaining focus without interruption. He also sees his worth to God in public totally related to what he is in private. I agree.

Nevertheless, this class called “Focus on Christ 101” is an important and difficult course of study, particularly for a scattered mind. I’m glad that I enjoy ‘going to school’ even though this is far more challenging than many of His lessons so far.

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