We were walking to the bus at the end of the school day, and I was holding first-grader Bryan’s hand. His hand was in mine because that is the only way that I could be assured that he was in line and with the rest of the class. Our day had been troublesome at best.
As we walked, I asked Bryan, “Do you know what would make me really happy?”
He looked up, curious, and asked, “What?”
“If you could come to school tomorrow ready to listen and obey, that would make me really happy.”
About that time we reached the buses, and he sprinted off, burning up the energy that seemed to ooze from his pores.
I forgot about our conversation.
The next afternoon on the way to the buses, however, Bryan sidled up next to me. I looked down at his mischievous grin, and just before he sprinted off I heard him say, “Got your wish didn’t ya?” I realized at that moment that Bryan had been cooperative all day long. Our classroom had been filled with peace, and he had been at the heart of it – just to make me happy.
I want to make God happy. I know He loves me, but I just want to be the reason He smiles some days. How can I do that?
Psalm 15, although only five verses long, gives me some ideas for bringing peace to my corner of the world – for living in a way that makes God happy.
The psalmist begins the psalm with a question for God – “Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?” (Psalm 15:1)
He isn’t asking how I can be good enough to get to God on my own. God is clear that salvation is through faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the cross (Ephesians 2:8-10). He is my only hope.
The psalmist is asking, though, “How can I make You happy, God? What can I do for You?”
Here are the principles that follow the psalmist’s question.
- Walk uprightly: Do the right thing God’s way (v. 2).
- Work righteousness: Be actively doing what God desires; live out your faith (v. 2).
- Speak truth in your heart: Be honest, and let honesty guide your actions (v. 2).
- No backbiting: Watch your words and the attitudes that drive them (v. 3).
- Treat your neighbors (remember who Jesus said our neighbors are) right: When we really think about it, we know what ‘right’ looks like (v. 3).
- Don’t take up a reproach against your neighbor: Don’t join in the rumors and gossip, and don’t blame your neighbor when things go wrong (v. 3).
- Don’t follow vile people: This may mean that you have to go against the crowd (v. 4). In another verse (III John 1:11), John tells us to follow the good. Romans 12:9 tells us to hate the evil and hang on to that which is good.
- Honor those that fear the Lord: The people who follow God should be your heroes (v. 4).
- Keep your word: Keep it even if it costs you, even if you lose (v. 4).
- Be the same wherever you are: Don’t be a like a chameleon, changing to suit whatever environment you are in (v. 4).
- Don’t expect to get something for nothing: Be honest in your livelihood; stay away from ‘get rich quick’ schemes, and activities that feed covetousness, greed, or graft (v. 5).
- Take care of the innocent (see number 11): Don’t take advantage of those who don’t have the information you have or who don’t have your experience (v. 5).
That is a lot to pack into five short verses, but these principles show that God’s word is practical and timely. It provides the direction I need to live a fulfilling life if I just do what it says.
I can make a difference in this world by living God’s way, and that makes Him happy.
It makes me happy, too.
I Thessalonians 4:1 Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.
Photo – Virginia Sunrise, Beth Mims
modified from a previous post