Begin with reading Psalm 51 and take the time to reflect and pray about what the Lord says to us in the Psalm.
Christians want to please God with their lives. I consistently field this question from church members and people in our community: “How do I know if something is the Lord’s will?” In your relationship with God, it is helpful to think regarding what pleases God. For instance, if you are considering making a big decision right now and you cannot decide what to do, do what will most glorify and please the Lord.
To glorify God is to make much of Him, to worship Him, or reflect who He is with what you do. Are your decisions doing that? Are you living, thinking, and acting in ways that make much of Him? These questions require that you examine your actions and the outcome of your actions. Psalm 51 reveals that doing the “right” thing with the wrong heart yields the wrong result. But, the right heart pleases God, and a humble and “right” heart will produce actions or sacrifices that are pleasing to God.
Psalm 51:16–17 (ESV)
16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
The life of a Christian is meant to make much of God. As you examine your life, the first place to look is your own heart. Are the decisions you are making, the life you are living, the words you are using resulting in the glory of God? Is God glorified in your mind, heart, soul, and body? Before you consider the impact you are making in others, first consider if you are glorifying God in your own life. Then, examine the impact of your way of life on others. A Christian is to glorify God in all things, both in his life and in his relationship with others. To help evaluate your actions and motives as yourself the following two questions:
- Am I waiting for someone to recognize me for the things I have done?
You can do the “right” thing for the wrong reason, which means it is no longer the “right” thing, it is a selfish thing. If you are hoping for other people to praise you then your motives are not pure, they are selfish.
Social media is impacting our culture in a negative way. When you post something on Facebook, Twitter, a blog, or whatever platform you use, you get feedback. Feedback comes through likes, favorites, emoticons, shares, reposts, comments, etc. This daily habit has conditioned most people to look for the praise and feedback of others. As a follower of Christ, the only one whose approval you live for is the Lord.
When your actions are rightly motivated, your heart will be full, and God will be praised.
- Am I praising myself for what I have done?
One of the greatest detriments to the heart of a Christian is the existence of pride. Often pride will mask itself in false humility. This happens when you do things for the Lord, another person, the church, or the community to make yourself feel good about yourself.
If you say things like I did my part, so it doesn’t matter what happens now. Or if you say things like “I said my peace, everything is on the other person now, you are on a slippery slope that leads to a discontented and hardened heart. The truth is, God is concerned with the outcome. God intends for you to glorify Him, and for your life to lead others to worship Him as well. Instead of praising yourself for what you have done, focus your life on doing what brings praise to God, and focus on the eternal reward of salvation in Christ.
God is pleased with the actions and sacrifices that result in His glory. Are you words and actions causing people to glorify God? If you are only concerned with pleasing yourself, and you don’t care about the outcome of your actions, then you have missed the intent behind Psalm 51. God is concerned with the heart and actions of a man.
Hebrews 13:7 says, “Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” This is written about the elders/pastors of the church. Elders/pastors are not the only ones who are called to be faithful. They are to set the example of faithfulness to the Lord for the church. The whole church is called to the same way of life, and as a Christian, you must examine the outcome of your decisions and actions. Are they bringing glory to God?
Today is a new day, live today to bring glory to God. Scripture says, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23) God’s mercy toward you will never be exhausted, let your life never cease to be for Him!