In a previous podcast, we introduced the importance of living, not for the applause of man or for our own self-gratification (no matter how noble our pursuits may seem), but solely for the pleasure and approval of God. In other words, we aim to be like Jesus. Our ambition is to live to hear the Father say, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:21). And our single desire should be like that of Jesus, who said, “I always do those things that please Him” (John 8:29). This, and this alone, is the aim of the Higher Christian Life.
But it is usually much easier said than done. Sometimes we end up running around in circles, like getting lost in a cul-de-sac in our own neighborhood. But consider the following admonition on how this life is designed to be lived:
Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him – 2 Corinthians 5:9.
Note how this verse begins with a “therefore” and focuses on our Christian life’s “aim” or ambition. Let’s see what it is saying.
First, the context of this statement is found in the beginning part of the chapter. Here we find Paul talking about the wonder of being in the presence of the Lord after we discard this “earthly house” (2 Cor. 5:1), our mortal body, and are clothed “with our habitation which is from heaven” (2 Cor. 5:2), our heavenly body. According to Paul, heaven is lightyears better than “Your Best Life Now” on this fallen planet.
Next, we are assured that God is the one “who has prepared us for this very thing” and has also “given us the Spirit as a guarantee” (2 Cor. 5:5) of its truth and fulfillment. After all, “we walk by faith, not sight” (2 Cor. 5:7).
Finally, the “therefore” relates primarily to the passage immediately preceding this one. And what an incredible statement it is regarding the passion and heart of someone who is experiencing the Higher Christian Life and has eternity in focus. It says, “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:8).
So what is the aim and ambition of someone who desires the Higher Christian Life?
Therefore (a conclusion based on what was written before) we make it our aim (our ambition, purpose, something we aspire to), whether present or absent (in this life or the life to come, on earth or in heaven), to be well pleasing (acceptable, that which God wills and recognizes) to Him – 2 Corinthians 5:9.
Is there more?
Absolutely. In fact, there is a reason, beyond wanting to live for the pleasure of God, for each of us to desire and strive to make our ambition in this life, not self-actualization or self-gratification, but to be like Jesus, “always doing the things that please Him” (John 8:29). And that is the simple fact that each of us will have to give an account of what we have done in this life, whether good or bad. There is a final exam, a judgment, and the time to prepare is now.
Statement: Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him – 2 Corinthians 5:9
Question: Why? For what reason should we make that the aim and ambition of our life?
Answer: For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad – 2 Corinthians 5:10
There are so many things we can place as the aim and ambition of our life. Some are self-serving, such as money, fame, pleasure, popularity, pride, acceptance, independence, self-sufficiency, and however we define happiness. And some are nobler in nature, such as a life devoted to helping others, ministry, philanthropy, serving, giving, and other time-honored attributes of a generally accepted “good” person. But there is only one aim in life that has eternal benefits, and that is to live in such a way that is well-pleasing, or acceptable, to God.
After all, we are to live for the smile of only One. And His name is Jesus.
Oh, and the benefit for us today for living a life that is well-pleasing to Him? Consider this promise:
But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” – 2 Corinthians 2:9.
Do you believe this statement to be true? Good. All the more reason to make it our aim to be “well-pleasing to Him” as we strive for the Higher Christian Life.
Until He comes,