By Watchman | February 25, 2009
“Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.” (Genesis 6:5,6)
Scripture tells us early on that the heart of God can experience grief. The ability to grieve is, therefore, one of the many attributes of our God. We are told in the above passage that God was grieved because the thoughts of man’s heart were turned always to evil. It was in this sorrow that God sent the great flood which destroyed all of the men God had made, along with their evil, except for the righteous family of Noah. Many thousands of years have passed since the time of that purging and God’s promise to never again destroy by flood the creation He had made, yet still we continue to grieve the heart of our eternal, almighty and always-loving Father.
What are some of the things that grieve Him? As the end of days prophesied throughout both the Old and New Testaments draws near, we need to become more aware of what we do that hurts God, and the ways in which we can bring Him pleasure.
We were created to love and to be loved by God. He made us in His own image (a thinking, loving, emotional, rational and spiritual people) so that we could be called friends with Him. He created us to be a worshipping people, so that He might call us His children. Even after man fell from grace in the Garden of Eden and handed over the title deed of the earth that God had given him to Satan, God made a way for all of mankind to be redeemed through the sacrifice of His very own begotten Son, Jesus. All we have to do to receive that precious gift is to repent of our sins and ask for Him to come into our hearts and lives. It is such a simple thing to do, but what resistance we put up to it! Now, more than ever in history, we have the greatest resistance and the least excuse for it: The Bible, God’s “love letter” to His people, is readily available in most known languages; evangelists have spread the Good News to the ends of the earth; radio, television and satellite reaches even into small, poverty-stricken communities in third-world countries. People have always been free to accept or reject His mercy. That stands today, but it is obvious that the time draws near that Paul wrote of to the people of Thessalonica: “…that day (the return of Christ for His people) shall not come, except there come a falling away first…” The great “falling away” has begun. I’ve many times heard the European countries referred to as “post-Christian Europe”, and I believe the United States is not far behind. We are putting more faith in the pronouncements of the UN than we are in the word of God. This grieves the heart of God. Founded as a Christian nation, we believe that we are so important and so powerful that we can continue to enjoy the blessings God bestowed upon us without acknowledging Him as the Giver. This grieves the heart of God.
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:30-32)
We can see from the above passage that being Christians does not exempt us from our obligation to not cause our Lord to grieve. And yes, it proves that I also grieve the heart of God. I grieve His heart every time I lose my temper and respond to another person in bitterness and resentment. I grieve Him when I carelessly speak against others, backbiting and gossiping when He has forbidden it. I grieve the heart of God when I fear to allow Him to follow through on promises He has made me because I am more afraid of my circumstances than I am trusting in His word. I grieve Him when I refuse to submit myself to Him; refuse to obey His commandments and heed His warnings.
We Christians have a tendency to complain too frequently about the perceived “attacks on Christianity.” We take it personally and mourn for ourselves and our diminishing civil rights. While there is no doubt our civil rights are diminishing, the ultimate target of the attacks is not us but Christ Jesus Himself. The so-called “war on Christmas” is more aptly named the “war on Christ.” If any of you belong to any of the networking sites where people can post comments about news-making events around the world, I’m sure you have seen the new attack mode of those who do not love the Lord. While atheists and agnostics have long felt superior in their dependence upon their own intelligence, it is only lately that an intense hatred of God and all those who love Him has surfaced. The malice spewed out against this loving Father of ours shocks me. The denials of our God are accompanied by the greatest profanities, blasphemies and filthy language I’ve ever come across. It grieves the heart of God; He who loves all of His created beings and desires that no one should be turned into hell. And my heart grieves for Him. He is God, and He needs neither my sympathetic pain nor my defense. Yet how can I not cry out against those who would blaspheme against Him–the God Who set me free from the bondage of Satan and brought me into fellowship with Him?
” But without faith it is impossible to please Him; for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6)
Obviously, the first thing we must do to please God is to have faith in Him. Romans 10:17 tells us that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” If we pay no attention to His word and do not heed it, then we are not evidencing any faith in Him. Please understand, I am not equating salvation with any works that we do or abstain from doing. Salvation is free and without strings; subject only to our repenting and accepting Jesus Christ as our Saviour and Lord. But in any loving relationship we desire to please the object of our love. And to please God, we need to place our faith in His words, His works, His strength and His promises; not in our own.
Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) So then yes, if we love Him, we will strive to do those those things God has commanded us to do, and to abstain from behavior He has forbidden. This pleases the heart of God. Will we sometimes fail? Yes. Will we continue to sin, knowingly or inadvertently? Yes. But God knows the deepest desires or our hearts and He knows when we love Him and want to serve Him. He will always be quick to pick us up when we fall, forgive and forget our sins, and comfort us when we feel we’ve let Him down. But, as Christians, we need to realize that God holds us to a standard. The Ten Commandments were not given as the Ten Vague Suggestions or the Ten General Ways in Which You Might Want to Live. And they were only the beginning. Jesus told us to forgive as we have been forgiven, to pray, to witness, to be light and salt to the earth, to be servants of the Light to all people and not the slaves of darkness. All these things please the heart of God. I have a friend who recently told me that when we do things for God it’s like our four-year-olds coming to us with messy pictures and we always hug them and say “Good job!” no matter how badly the pictures turn out or how little they seem to resemble what they are supposed to resemble and go hang them on the refrigerator. I was terribly tickled by this, because it seemed to me to be a very apt analogy. All these great things we mean to do for the Lord–how little they are in truth, but how delightedly accepted by the God Who judges the intent of our hearts!
It pleases God when we say as Jesus did, “Not my will, but Your’s be done.” It pleases Him when we try to make His will our will. It pleases Him when we take care of the sick, visit the prisoner, feed the hungry and protect the helpless, not to glorify ourselves but to glorify Him and in His name! It pleases the heart of God when we stand for righteousness for the sake of the ultimate Truth–that He is our God and Jesus our Saviour and King!
Heavenly Father, King of the Universe, Maker and Judge of all of creation: We lift up Your name in praise and thanksgiving for the free gift of Your love and the grace of Your redemption of all who turn to You through the precious Blood of Your Son. Help us now, Lord, to be a blessing to those to whom You would send us and a mighty witness and testimony to the nations of Your goodness. Most of all, we pray that we may ever cause you joy and never grief; that both our prayers and our lives will be as incense: sweet savours in the nostrils of our Most High God! Amen.