“Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. This is why ‘it was credited to him as righteousness.’ The words ‘it was credited to him’ were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead (Romans 4:20-24).”
I’ve been mulling over a slogan I saw on the frame of license plate the other day. It read,”Do what you like. Like what you do.”
On the surface, this little saying seems like a good one. It speaks of choice, freedom and happiness, American values all.
However, it seems to me that adapting this as a philosophy of life could lead to trouble. The pursuit of happiness may be an American ideal from the great Thomas Jefferson, but I am not sure it’s one that leads to more important virtues, like love, goodness and faith.
Ultimately, it would be better in my book if we did what God likes. What is it that pleases God? It’s faith, my good man and woman (Hebrews 11:6).
The Hall of Fame of Faith is found in Hebrews Chapter 11. A review of the lives of some of the people noted here shows that some probably liked what they did, but others couldn’t possibly have.
Guys like Gideon, Samson and David were victorious leaders. They were conquerors who received accolades in this world for their exploits. They probaby liked their roles.
Hebrews 11 mentions some women who must have been overjoyed. Their dead loved ones came back to life (Hebrews 11:35a).
But then there were the others, the people who had to suffer as a result of their faith, and as a consequence of doing what God likes. Here’s what the author of Hebrews says about them:
“There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground (Hebrews 11:35a-38).”
So God liked these events? Oh, he wasn’t pleased with their horrible suffering of course.
But he was so pleased with their faith that He entrusted them with the difficulty. He knew that they would come through with flying colors and thus glorify Him (Hebrews 11:39).
In God’s scheme of things, our suffering has eternal meaning. It has consequences somehow in the lives of those who follow us.
Like what you do and do what you like? I don’t think so,
This thinking may be fine in the world of career searches and marketing, but it’s no good for the life of the spirit.
If you like slogans, try this one: “Love God and do whatever you please.”
This was uttered by the magnificent St. Augustine. This man had spent his early life doing what he liked. He was apparently addicted to sex.
However, Augustine came to Christ. He found pleasure, not in illicit sex, but in God.
God allowed Augustine to endure his own pain in order to point him to Himself. Finally, Augustine understood his real sin. He wrote that his problem was “a perversion of the will bent aside from Thee, O God (Tuaranga House of Prayer, 2009).”
If God wills that we’re able to do what we like in faith, all well and good. But some of us aren’t given that pleasure.
We might have to do what He likes and not like what we do. Through faith in Him, we can do it.
If it honors and glorifies God in the long run, it will be worth it. It’s a holy trust He has given us to suffer for Him.
We’ll eventually get what’s coming to us, probably a reward we can’t even fathom in our current conditions. With this in mind, we can endure and even rejoice.