You’ve seen them before. Young boys bustling with energy. Each of them wearing a blue shirt, with red numbers on the sleeve. Sometimes wearing an orange, or gold, or blue neckerchief. On the pocket of the shirt you find patches of tigers, bobcats, wolves and bear. I’m talking about Cub Scouts. Each learning and growing everyday and trying to live by the Cub Scout motto, “Do Your Best.”
This is a noble endeavor that we all should seek to live by. But when you have to make a decision, how do you know what is best and why does it matter? The apostle Paul tells us in Philippians 1:9 – 11 “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.”
“Discern what is best.” In Dr. Don Sunukjian’s book, “Invitation to Philippians,” he list the answer he sees in this passage. He list two reasons found in this passage for why it is important that we make the best choice. “First, so that no one else will have anything against us, and second, so that we ourselves will know that we’ve pleased God in every way?”
I readily agree that it is important to make the best choice so that we can please God. Pleasing God is what is most important in our lives as Christians. 1 Thessalonians 2:4 tells us that “We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.” We are trying to please God. This is the role of a Christian, that everything we do is pleasing to God.
But what of his first point, “so that no one else will have anything against us.” Is this really our concern. Doesn’t Galatians 1:10 tell us, ” If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” At first glance, I would have to question the validity of this option. But as I look closer at it I begin to see that it is not as far off as my initial thoughts would place it. Sunukjian said that it is important that we make the right decisions so that people will have nothing against us. He did not say that we should do it to make people happy with us, that is to say, that we are not tying to please them.
Well, what exactly is the difference? After all, if people are happy with us, then they certainly will have nothing against us. While this is true, the reverse is not. In other words, even if a person has nothing against us, it does not mean that they will always be happy with us.
I know that there are people who I do not agree with. People whose choices do not please me, but I can not help but be impressed by their integrity. They are genuine about who they are. They do not simply act the way people want to make them happy. They make their choices because they truly believe in them.
You see our best choices are not simply to keep everyone happy. If we claim to be Christians, then our choices, our life styles, need to be consistent with that belief. When this is the case we please God, and give others nothing to hold against us for our behavior. This is what Peter is talking about in 1 Peter 2:12 when he writes, “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”
Doing our best means making choices that please God, choices that are consistent with what we believe. When we do this, we will be sure to glorify God in our actions and allow our witness to stand before others. But to do this, we must know what pleases God and how to live. The only way to do this is to spend time with Him and in His word. That is our best choice. That is how we are “able to discern what is best” and how we are able to “be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.” So spend time daily in His word. Spend time daily in prayer. Walk with Christ. Get to know Him and what He desires from you. Then you to can do what is best.