If there were two words that often appear to be the running current in certain societies, those two words would summarise it neatly.
Safely ensconced in a variety of concepts and philosophies, whether it’s the parents giving the impression that promoting the self is the essential goal of life or if it’s various advertising campaigns promoting the self as the essential goal of life, from entertainment to the intelligentsia rather than serving others or loving the neighbour, the real mission is to please yourself.
This is nothing new. It is repackaged from generation to generation and makes its appeals through compelling statements and motivational stories. After all, who would want to turn down the opportunity to have whatever you want? Who wants to turn away from being the master of all they survey and the ruler of their destiny? Who is going to turn that down?
The man who exemplified peak humanity displayed what it was to truly live to love the neighbour. The man who showed the way to God never lived to please Himself. He lived a life that shone a light to elements of the examples of others in times past as to what happens when you live to serve the other, when you live to serve the greater.
In a kingdom, the primary person in it is the king. All are subject to him and however he chooses to rule. When you are in a kingdom that is ruled well and ruled wisely you see the natural connection between living in that rule and experiencing wisdom and excellent wellbeing.
The Kingdom of God acknowledges the wise and excellent rule of God for those who admit He alone is worthy to rule the affairs of the world. When that is the case, the mentality of pleasing yourself does not take priority. What takes priority is discovering what pleases the king.
What pleases the king is to look to others as more important than the self. What pleases the king is to love and serve others. What pleases the king is to discover that everything has been given for us to live a life of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. This life is not about self-indulgence.
It is not to say that the self is totally obliterated. It is just to say that the self is nowhere near the deified object of life as pronounced throughout time.
When we see the king, we would understand why it makes sense to live to please him. When we know the king, we would see why it is worth giving everything to offer our lives to him and the glory of his kingdom. When we discover that this is a king like no other and only operates to rule well and in wisdom, living to please him might appear countercultural to the way of the world, but it would be the most liberating and energising lifestyle to experience.
We will see after considering the benefit of life if it pleases the king.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden