“encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory”—1 Thessalonians 2:12
To be a Christian is a call to living a certain way of life—it is a call to live in a manner worthy of God. The Christian living as has been considered by the word of God is analogous to the life of a soldier who is but to live as a soldier without meddling in civilian affairs. In the same way, a Christian can but be compared to an athlete who has to run the race while adhering to the rules of the game. In his letter to Timothy, apostle Paul encourages him to serve as a solider of Christ, never to entangle himself in civilian affairs. He also encourages Timothy to live while keeping the discipline of the faith. The apostle writes;
No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules [of the game]” (2 Timothy 2:4-5 NIV)
The International Association of Athletic Competition Rules 2006-2007 rule number 20 states that anyone is deemed eligible to an athletic competition only and only if “he agrees to abide by the Rules and has not been declared ineligible.” The competition rule goes on to state some specific rules by which athletes must abide by, one of which is the dress code of the athletes. Rule number 143 categorically describes the clothing which an athlete must wear: “In all events athletes must wear clothing which is clean, and designed and worn so as not to be objectionable. The clothing must be made of material which is non-transparent even if wet.”
The second part of this rule stipulates the kind of shoes an athlete must use. Listen to how specific this rule defines the shoes which an athlete must wear during competition; “The purpose of shoes for competition is to give protection and stability to the feet and a firm grip on the ground. Such shoes, however, must not be constructed so as to give an athlete any unfair additional assistance.”
Brothers and sisters, I would like you to pay attention to the imperative nature of these statements, they clearly lay down some of the disciplines and rules for which the athlete has no option but to comply with. We too are called to a way of life, we are called not just to adhere to some rules and regulations but to live the kind of life that pleases and or satisfies God.
Sometimes we miss living this kind of life because we aren’t aware of what it means to be a Christian. It is therefore important for us to get to the first usage of the term ‘Christian’ in the Bible. Soon after the movement of men and women who were Holy Ghost filled started as recorded in the book of Acts of the Apostles, their way of life was very unique from the rest. While in Antioch, a young man called Barnabas who was
A good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, … went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So, for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch” (Acts 11:24-26 NIV).
Barnabas and Paul dedicated a whole year in teaching the Christians in Antioch the kind of life that pleases God. Their transformational teaching empowered the Antiochian Christians to live distinct lives that was very visible to the world. The world around observed that the people who once lived like them had completely changed, the way the talk and conduct themselves was worth of Christians. So, there was only one tag they could put on them, a tag that would see the followers of Christ get a new name which would live for centuries. They were given the Christ tag, they were called Christians, meaning people who lived like Christ, people who conducted themselves like Christ.
The legacy of the Antiochian Christians is the same legacy that we must live—to live the kind of lives that pleases God. We can be rightly tagged Christians until we live like the Antiochians, until we reflect the likeness of Christ in us. We can rightly be tagged Christians only if our lives are purpose driven, the chief purpose being “to live our lives in a way that God would consider worthy” (1 Thess. 2:12 NLT). We can be tagged Christians by the quality of our lives and not by the “Christians names” we have, neither by some of the “initiation” rituals we may have gone through which many thinks will make us Christians. Any life short of pleasing God is short of being Christian, it is not Christian if it is not what God would consider worthy.
We are being urged to live the kind of lives that pleases God because being a Christian is a call to share in the glorious kingdom of God. In the New Living Translation (NLT), 2 Thess. 2:12 ends in this way; “For he called you to share in his Kingdom and glory.” Think of the Garden of Eden, where Adam and Eve lived in fellowship with God for all the times they lived in obedience. Remember when they displeased God by failing to keep God’s command, they were send away from the Garden. We cannot share in God’s Kingdom and glory until we can live by His Word. We cannot share in the Holy, eternal Kingdom and the glory of our God if our lives are dislodged from what is worthy of Him. Like a soldier, we must not entangle in civilian affairs, like athletes, if we must share in His Kingdom and glory, we must be willing to live according to the rules of the kingdom.
I therefore would like to challenge us to critically think of the manner of our lives. Are we living the kind of lives that pleases God? Are we living lives that are worthy of men and women of the Kingdom? How do we daily conduct ourselves? I would like to quickly suggest to you the following five ways in which you can live the kind of live that pleases God;
- First thing first, you must have faith in God. The Bible clearly tells us that without faith, it is impossible to please God: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6 NIV). We must have faith in God if we are to please him, we must believe in God’s existence, believe in his saving Grace and seek him earnestly. Without faith, we cannot live the kind of lives that pleases God.
- Secondly, the kind of life that will please God is one which is spiritually minded. The world and its pleasures may easily seem promising that if we aren’t spiritually minded, we can easily get entangled. It is for this reason that while writing to the Romans, apostle Paul urges them to be spiritually minded than being carnal. He says; “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.”
He continues to explain that “the mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God [it cannot please God]; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God (Romans 8:5-8 NIV). Writing about his desire to be spiritually minded, a one called Ernest writes:
“I came here with nothing and not being aware of anything when I arrived, and I shall go with nothing and not even being aware of what is covering me, except what, what was in me may see, when my me and my true me has been separated! I must therefore, whiles I am here, mind what is in me: my true me, my soul and my spirit, I must seek to my all with my true me so as to please the Sovereign Lord God Almighty, so that in the end, I may be rewarded with a crown of victory, having conquered all obstacles with tenacity and due diligence to do leave distinctive foot prints worthy of praise!” (Ernest Agyemang Yeboah).
- More so, it is important to fear God if we are to live the kind of lives that pleases God. The fear of God always drives us to submit to the word of God. Through the fear of God, a man is able to come to terms with God. The Lord is pleased when we revere him. The Psalmist rightly puts it this way; “The LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love” (Psalm 147:11).
- While here on earth, Jesus lived a manner of live that pleased God. Studying and following his examples will eventually lead us to living the kind of lives that pleases God. During the transfiguration, after Moses and Elijah appeared to him, “a bright cloud covered them [Jesus, Peter, John and James], and a voice from the cloud said; ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!’” (Matthew 17:5). This heavenly voice assures us that Jesus lived a life that pleased God and it instructs us to listen to Christ. So, studying and following Jesus’ examples can help us in living lives that pleases God.
- Additionally, we must obey God if we are to live the kind of lives that pleases God. Obedience is better than sacrifice. God demands our obedience to Him—obedience to his word more than what we can offer and or sacrifice for him. King Saul failed to obey God, hence he couldn’t equally please God. At one of his disobedience, the Lord God told Saul through Samuel; “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams” (1 Samuel 15:22). Hi friends, lets pay attention to every detail of God’s word, lets obey his word. For in doing so, we please Him.
Finally, it is my prayer that we will always seek to please God in all we do and say. It is my prayer that we will desire to share in God’s Kingdom and glory which is only possible if we strive to live the kind of lives that pleases God. This may sound as impossible as making a camel to enter through the eye of a needle, but the five ways I have given above should help us live it. My prayer is that every year, every week, every day and hour; “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8) to help you live the kind of life that pleases God.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New International version (NIV). Rev. Julius Izza Tabi (Master of Philosophy in Religion, Society and Global Issues) is a lecturer at Uganda Christian University Arua Campus.
 These five ways of pleasing God has been adopted from the Discern Magazine
 Quote taken from Good Reads