On faith: God is who we have to pleasePleasing God is the right goal because it is the ultimate motivation. The thought of a face-to-face meeting with the Creator naturally leads to a desire to live the right kind of life.
By: Pastor Joseph Whiting, Grace Baptist Church, Two Harbors, Lake County News Chronicle
In 1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton, one of the world’s most renowned polar explorers, assembled a crew of 27 and sailed to Antarctica on a sturdy little ship named Endurance. The goal was to be the first to cross the continent of Antarctica on foot.
After sailing 1,000 miles, with only one day to go, the ship became entrapped in the pack ice, remaining there for more than a year. From the ice floe, they witnessed their beloved ship crushed by the ice and swallowed by the sea, leaving them to scratch out a meager existence on a slab of ice five feet thick while being carried about by wind and tide.
Their adventure had become a nightmare. Dreams of fame dissipated and were replaced by the simple objective of survival. With no help in sight, Shackleton and two crew members sailed in a 22’ open boat on rough seas over 15 nightmarish, frostbitten, and sleepless days to seek help at South Georgia Island – 800 miles away.
Amazingly, they succeeded and the crew was rescued. Their story is one of the greatest epics of survival in the annals of human exploration.
Like the crew of the Endurance, you and I are going to have to determine our ultimate goal in life. God says that there is only one worthy goal in life. In II Corinthians 5:9-10, the Apostle Paul writes, “Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing in Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”
Whether we live or die, our overriding passion is to be found well-pleasing by the Lord. Why?
Pleasing God is the right goal because it is the ultimate motivation. The thought of a face-to-face meeting with the Creator naturally leads to a desire to live the right kind of life.
We weigh life’s decisions more carefully. Pleasing God becomes our reference point, like a compass.
Captain Shackleton relied on a sextant for the 800-mile journey across open water. The trip was treacherous, but they never lost their way. Today’s secular compass points to a life of fame, wealth, health, pleasure, and approval of others. The Christian’s compass is obedience to God’s teachings revealed in Scripture.
Pleasing God is the right goal because there is coming a Day of Judgment. This judgment (or Bema Seat) is for believers only. It will not determine who goes to Heaven or Hell (the Great White Throne Judgment deals with that issue); that matter was resolved when we repented of our sin and believed on Christ during our earthly life. Rather, the Bema Seat will be a full disclosure of our earthly accomplishments as Christians. That God holds us accountable for our lives should affect the way we live.
Pleasing God is the right goal because it alone earns God’s approval. The Bema Seat will evaluate what is worthy or worthless in our lives. Sacrifices and suffering done for Christ are recognized and rewarded. Lives lived for personal pleasure will suffer loss.
At the start of Shackleton’s famous voyage, goals were numerous: be the first to cross Antarctica on foot, join the adventure of a lifetime, receive worldwide fame, and enjoy the good life. But Shackleton lived to see all his goals reduced to one – survive.
When we stand before Christ, only one thing will matter: Was my life well-pleasing to God? In the decisions you make starting today, make it your goal to be found well-pleasing to your Savior and Judge, Jesus Christ.