How to gain God’s approval in your life

Pastor’s Pulpit

By Pastor Tom Davidson

Have you ever stopped to think about how you can get God’s approval in your life? Can you get God’s approval by being religious? No. Can you get God’s approval by going to church? No. Can you gain God’s approval by keeping the Ten Commandments? No. There’s only one way that we can please God. In Hebrew 11:6 we learned that, “…without faith it is impossible to please Him.” There are only two ways to live. One way, which is the most common, is to live by sight…to base everything on what you can see. The other way, far less commonly taken, is to live by faith, to base your life primarily and ultimately on what you can’t see. That’s the Christian way; the Bible’s way is the way that the people of God have always lived. In our last lesson on Hebrews chapter eleven we looked at what faith is and what faith does. We saw how faith caused Abel to worship God, Enoch to walk with God, and Noah to work for God.
The life of faith begins with the willingness to heed the call of God to leave the place and life of sin. Look at Heb 11:8: It wasn’t Abraham’s plan to leave Ur. But then God revealed Himself to Abraham and called him to a life of faith. The life of faith begins with a willingness to leave one’s Ur, our place of sin and unbelief. The Word of God calls not only for faith but also for action that springs from that faith in the Word of God. True faith always leads to decisive action.
A great lesson should be learned from this aspect of Abraham’s life. As believers we must be willing to walk by faith. We tend to want to accumulate permanent possessions in the here and now but these things can hinder us in our walk of faith. We need to remember that this world is not our home. Abraham’s faith went far beyond what he experienced in this life. Abraham waited patiently for the promise. He never saw God’s promise fulfilled; but he waited and waited and waited. Usually the hardest times for us as believers are the in-between times, the times of waiting.
Waiting is one of life’s greatest disciplines. As we wait we would do well to remember an important principle; waiting time is never wasted time. What’s God doing while you wait? God may be testing you to reveal how committed you really are. Regardless of how it appears, God is always working behind the scenes preparing the way. God is using life to position us and prepare us to accomplish His vision in our lives. You may have to wait, but remember that God’s timing is always right. True faith is waiting for the fulfillment of God’s promises in God’s timing. We never lose when we trust God in the dark.
It was by faith that Abraham offered his son Isaac as a sacrifice when God tested Him. Abraham demonstrated a willingness to give God the most important thing in his life, his son. What’s the most important thing in your life? God will never settle for being second place in your life. God’s only interested in being in first place in your life and He’ll not settle for anything less. Corrie Ten Boom once commented that she had learned to hold the things of this world loosely in her hand, because she knew that if she holds them tightly and then the Lord would have to pry her fingers away and it would hurt.

Is there anything in your life that you’re trying to withhold from God? Is there anything that it’s going to hurt if God has to pry it out of your hands? We don’t have any trouble sacrificing that which isn’t important to us anyway. To some of you money is in first place in your life and you withhold what rightfully belongs to God.
For some of you the most important thing in your life is your family. For others the most important thing in your life is your career, your dreams for the future. If you’re afraid to trust God with your possessions, your dreams, or someone in your life, then you need to take a look at the life of Abraham. Because Abraham was willing to give up everything for God, and he received back far more than he could even have imagined. You’ll never give up anything for God that God will not repay many times over. True faith involves a willingness to sacrifice.

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