Beliefnet
Your Morning Cup of Inspiration

There is nothing wrong with being nice. There is nothing wrong with going the extra mile to do things for others.  But make sure you consider your motivation in doing so.  If your motivation is to ensure that others will be happy with you, you will be disappointed.

Why? Because no matter how hard you work, no one is going to be pleased with you all the time.  That includes your spouse, your children, your boss and your best friend.  No matter how kind you are, people are going to be unhappy with you from time to time.

Moreover, there are some people who will never like you no matter what you do. This happens in a lot in family relationships.  Your in-laws may never approve of you, no matter how kind you are to them.  If you have step-children, step-siblings, step-parents, step- anything, they may never like you, no matter how much you do for them.  That is because their opinion of you has nothing to do with you.  It has everything to do with them, and with their issues.

These are hard pills to swallow. But accepting that people aren’t always going to approve of you is liberating.  Once you realize that no matter what you do, you will not have a 100% approval rating, you then can get down to the real business of life: pleasing God.

When your motivation for all your actions is to please God, life becomes so much simpler. Then everything you do is about God.  WWGD is the answer to every question.

Now sometimes pleasing God will put you in a position that appears to be irrational to the outside world. For instance, turning the other cheek doesn’t make a lot of sense to most people.  But that is what God calls us to do.

“But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again.”  Luke 6: 27-30

Jesus’ admonition sounds simple. However, when you put it into practice you will find that spiritually immature people will perceive you as being weak.  And those with flexible morals will try to take advantage of you.  But if we really want to follow God’s will, then we are called to a higher standard than the rest of the world.  To put it plainly, we are called to be good, no matter what.  Zero excuses.

Pleasing God means fulfilling His purpose for your life. That isn’t easy.  It may mean rejecting the well-meaning advice of your family and friends.  It may mean pursuing a career path that seems unsure.  And it will take faith in God’s promise to take care of you, even when you can’t see the end of the road.  But when you pursue God’s purpose for your life, things suddenly flow more smoothly.  The pieces of life begin to fit into place as they haven’t before.  God’s ways are always better than ours.

It is good to serve other people. It is good to serve your pets and to be a responsible custodian of the earth.  But do all of that in response to your desire to serve God.  Make God (rather than man) the motivation behind all your actions.  When you do, you will be amazed at how much easier and more beautiful your life will become.

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