God’s Requirement of Us

It’s the question that many ask… sometimes on a regular basis. What does God want from us?

And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you? He requires only that you fear the LORD your God, and live in a way that pleases him, and love him and serve him with all your heart and soul. (Deuteronomy 10:12)

So, who says the Old Testament is hard to understand or is irrelevant to our lives today? Well, there are some parts but overall the message is as relevant today as it was thousands of years ago.

When it comes down to it, God is asking that we LOVE HIM. Many people think they have to get their life all straightened out or in order before they can become a Christian. But in reality, God isn’t asking all that much of us… except that we love him with all our heart.

When you align your heart towards God, you naturally change your life because you begin to love HIM, his WAYS and his WORK. Changing your life isn’t a requirement to love God, rather it is a result of your love for God.

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Personal Communication

We are having a seminar on Communication on September 12, so in preparation, I thought I’d post a few thoughts on the topic:

Many conversations can be compared to a table tennis match: two players stand on opposite ends of the table preparing to send the ball across the net in such a way that the other has little or no chance of a successful return. When I was a kid, the goal was to keep the ball going back and forth for as long as we could!

Good relational conversations can be better characterized as a game of “catch,” when both people attempt to deliver the ball to the other in such a way that it can be received and then successfully returned. The goal is not to win but to keep the ball going back and forth between them.

As I remember back to my counseling and guidance classes in college, I recall that satisfying relational communication is a process of verbal and nonverbal interaction with others in which thoughts and feelings are shared and understood. This means the receiver of the communication hears what is said and understands what is meant by the sender.

  • Verbal communication conveys thoughts and feelings with the spoken word, both choice of words and tone of voice.
  • Nonverbal communication expresses thoughts and feelings without words (facial expressions, body posture, hand gestures, direct or indirect eye contact, patient or impatient listening, gentle or rough touch, style of dress and clothing, apathetic or silent responses, platonic or romantic kisses, style of discipline, use of money or gifts).

The Hebrew word dabar, which means “word,” is used in the Old Testament to express the concept of communication. It implies speaking about a matter. The Bible, referred to as God’s Word, speaks to us about God and is one of the ways God speaks to us on matters pertaining to life. Old Testament language also speaks about the life-giving power of God’s Word.

“He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.” (Psalm 107:20)

In New Testament Greek, logos (word) is not just “the expression of a thought, concept or idea,” but refers also to the name of an object. In the first chapter of John, “the Word” (logos) signifies the Divine Expression, Christ.

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

So, communication is much more than simply words. The big question for a believer in regard to communication is, “How can I communicate with others in a way that is most pleasing to God?”

The method of communication most pleasing to God is one that reflects Jesus Christ in all you say and do. That means allowing Jesus Christ to be Lord of your life … allowing Him to express His words and actions through you.

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:16–17)

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How to Please God

This ought to be the primary focus of all authentic followers of Jesus Christ. How can we claim to one of God’s children if we don’t seek to please God with our lives? Let’s take a look at 1 Thessalonians 4:1–12 for some guidance.

Living a Life that Pleases God:

  1. What We Are to Do:
    1. Live your life choosing to please God in all you do. (1 Thessalonians 4:1)
    2. Live by growing in the knowledge of God’s ways, so study the Bible. (1 Thessalonians 4:1–2)
  2. How We Are to Do It:
    1. Live holy and pure
      1. Live a life that is holy, or “set apart” from the ways of the world. (1 Thessalonians 4:3)
      2. Live within God’s requirements for sexual purity. (1 Thessalonians 4:3)
      3. Live a life that demonstrates self-control. (1 Thessalonians 4:4)
      4. Live a life that is holy and honorable. (1 Thessalonians 4:4, 7)
      5. Live without ignorance of God and his ways, lusting like pagans. (1 Thessalonians 4:5)
    2. Live with integrity in relationships with others. (1 Thessalonians 4:6)
    3. Live knowing that when you reject the Word and ways of God, you reject God. (1 Thessalonians 4:8)
    4. Live with brotherly love toward others. (1 Thessalonians 4:9-10)
    5. Live a quiet life, minding your own business, work with your own hands. (1 Thessalonians 4:11)
    6. Live a life that gains the respect of others. (1 Thessalonians 4:12)
    7. Live a life that is dependent on no one except the Lord, earn your own living. (1 Thessalonians 4:12)