Last week, I wrote on 2 Corinthians 5:1-7 where the apostle Paul talks about our heavenly home. He ends the passage by saying, “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (v. 7 ESV). This week, I want to continue Paul’s train of thought by focusing on verses 8-10.
The Bible says, “Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil” (ESV).
We experience the difficulties of this life. We hear the arguments. We see the divisions. We feel the pain. We long to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. After all, there’s no place like home. And no matter how hard we try, we never feel at home in this world. There’s always something missing.
The apostle Paul understands this. In verse 2, he talks about his groaning and longing for eternity. In verse 4, he says he is burdened. Yet, even still, Paul has his gaze set on Christ. And he walks by faith, not by sight. Then, in verse 8, he reiterates this longing to be with Christ. In verse 9, however, he says something that I want to unpack.
“So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him” (ESV).
We’re all aiming for something. Money. Success. Possessions. A college degree. A good career. A good marriage. Successful kids. A comfortable retirement. You name it. We’re always squinting our eyes and setting our sights on something.
Yet, when Paul speaks about our journey of faith, he says our aim should be to please God. What’s more? Well, when Paul speaks about the glorious day we see Christ, our aim doesn’t change. Whether we’re here or there, our call is the same. Both now and forever. Whether we’re in the body when Christ appears or already with Him, we make it our aim to please Him.
So, what does it mean to please God?
In his first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul writes, “Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more” (1 Thess. 4:1 ESV).
To please God is to obey Him.
Notice what Paul says in verse 10. He writes, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil” (ESV).
If we’re to please God both now and forever, we must obey Him. And this is where most people stop reading. Because it seems like a burden. After all, if aiming to please God means striving to obey His Word, then aiming at something else seems easier. So, we look for satisfaction by aiming at things in this world.
But what if our greatest pleasure was pleasing God? What if pleasing God brought us more joy than anything else? What if our aim to please Him actually satisfied us?
Our greatest satisfaction is striving to please God. Why? Because that’s what we’re made to do. Paul says pleasing God is our aim even in eternity. So, why not now?
In these 10 verses, we see Paul outline for us the futility of this life. We read about our temporary bodies. We relate with his longing for perfection. As we struggle with sickness and loss, we groan to see Christ face to face.
What do we do in the meantime? We walk by faith, not by sight. And we make it our aim to please Him.
I pray God strengthens you to please Him. That every decision you make. Every word you say. Every response you give. That it would be given through a sight set on pleasing God.
This world is not our home. These struggles are temporary. But our aim never changes.
We make it our aim to please Him.
Isaiah Pauley is the Minister of Worship for Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va. Find more at www.isaiahpauley.com. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.