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Ed Jordan: Whom Do You Live to Please?

Posted: 1/12/2019 at 8:20am. Column by Ed Jordan. 

What is the driving force of your life? Who or what gets the priority when you are establishing your plans for the year, month, week, or day?

Some would say that there are no real priorities in life; that life is so fluid we cannot afford to have established priorities. In management, it is often the most “urgent” need that becomes the priority, instead of the most important or strategic need.

In family life it is often the children who get priority, yet each child thinks that the other kids get more priority than they do. Some might say that their priority is peace and calm, so they choose to do whatever it takes to please others. A few might admit that their priority is retaliation and payback for perceived wrongs they have suffered.  

Personally, my goal is to follow what I feel is God’s order of priority in my life: relationships and decisions. Admittedly, it isn’t easy, nor do I always achieve that goal. At one point, Jesus was asked what is the greatest command—what is the priority command that should be implemented first before all else. Do you know what Jesus answered? We find his answer in Matthew 22:37–39 (NLT): 

  Jesus replied, You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: Love your neighbor as yourself.  

 The order is God first, others second, and myself in relationship with loving others.  

 There are other passages of scripture which give instruction for loving our family, our spouse, children, and then others around us. But if we just look at these two most important commandments, we find that our first priority relationship should be our relationship with God.

Why? Because God is our Designer, Creator, Savior, Protector, Counselor, Example, and Guide.

Our relationship with God is the touchstone for all our other relationships.

That relationship helps us clarify all other relationships, and it gives us the wisdom and skill to be effective in our other relationships.  

 We need God more than any of us know, and yet most of us don’t give him the time of day. We resent being told how to live our lives, even if it will lead to a less stressful, more meaningful life. We bristle at the thought of giving God even one hour a week to attend church.

I understand. When I am swamped with all the problems of life—which in my occupation include not just my problems, but the problems of dozens of other people as well—an hour is a precious thing. I mean, we only have 168 hours a week, and apparently to set one hour aside to spend with God is just too much of a sacrifice to make.  

 Okay, I am being a bit satirical, but satire only stings if it is true. So let’s look at it a different way. If you have a spouse and are trying to convince them how very much you love them, would an hour a week be very convincing? Or would spending an hour or two a week with your children show them how much you care?  

 If all the people who said they love God would show up every week in church to worship him, their lives would change, and the change would be for the better in their life, as well as in their family and community.

Talk is cheap; commitment is obvious when present, but it also becomes red-flashing lights when absent. I know today’s column is a little “in your face.”  But sometimes we need someone to care for us enough to be honest with us and to lovingly tell us that we need to get honest with God.  

 Do you realize that each of us will one day stand accountable before God? We each will be asked to give an accounting for our lives, and relationship (or lack thereof) with God. Read 2 Corinthians 5:10.  

 If standing before Christ for an accounting were to happen to you today, would your life show evidence that you love God and that God is the first priority in your life?   

 So the question is, who are we living to please? God? Our friends? Ourselves?

There is a great quote about whom we live to please: “A God pleaser will do more for the well-being of humanity than a people pleaser.” While most of us desire to please others when possible, for me the one opinion that will matter when I stand before God to give an account for my life is God’s opinion.

How about you?   

ed-jordan2Award-winning columnist Dr. Ed Jordan is pastor of Gwynn’s Island Baptist Church, Gwynn, VA. You may also read his past columns.

He can be reached at szent.edward@gmail.com.