"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 2:5)
"I do always those things that please Him." (John 8:29)
What a glorious motto for a man — "I live for God!” It is religion's truest definition. It is the essence of angelic bliss — the motive principle of angelic action — "You ministers of His that do His pleasure." The Lord of angels knew no higher, no other motive. It was during His incarnation — the regulator and directory of His daily being. It supported Him amid the depressing sorrows of His woe-worn path. It upheld Him in their dreadful termination in the garden and on the cross. For a moment sinking human nature faltered under the load which His Godhead sustained; but the thought of "pleasing God" nerved and revived Him. "Not my will — but Yours be done."
It is only when the love of God is shed abroad in the heart, that this animating desire to "please Him" can exist. In the holy bosom of Jesus, that love reigned paramount, admitting no rival — no competing affection. Though infinitely inferior in degree, it is the same impelling principle which leads His people still to link enjoyment with His service, and which makes consecration to Him of heart and life its own best recompense and reward.
Says one, "When love to God is habitually in the ascendant, or occupying the place of will, it gathers round it all the other desires of the soul as satellites, and whirls them along with it in its orbit round the center of attraction." Until the heart, then, is changed, the believer cannot have this "testimony that he pleases God."
The world, self, sin — these are the gods of the unregenerate soul. And even when renewed, alas that there should be so many ebbings and flowings in our tide of devotedness! Jesus could say, "I do always these things that please the Father." Glory to God burned within His bosom like a living fire. "Many waters could not quench it." His were no fitful and inconstant frames and feelings — but the persistent habit of a holy life, which had the one end in view, from which it never diverged or deviated.
Let it be so, in some lowly measure with us. Let God's service not be merely set times and seasons; but, like the alabaster box of ointment, let us always be giving forth the fragrant perfume of holiness. Even when the shadows of trial are falling around us, let us "pass through the cloud" with the sustaining motive — "All my wish, O God, is to please and glorify You! By giving or taking — by smiting or healing — by the sweet cup or the bitter — Father, glorify your name!"
"I don't want to be weary of God's dealings with me," said Bickersteth, on his death-bed; "I want to glorify Jesus in them, and to find Him more precious." Do I shrink from trials — duties — crosses — because involving hardships and self-denial, or because frowned on by the world? Let the thought of God's approving countenance be enough. Let me dread no censure, if conscious of acting in accordance with His will. Let the Apostle's monitory word determine many a perplexing path — "If I please men — then I am not the servant of Christ" (Galatians 1:10).
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