Christians often give thought to how they can please God, or how to respond in a situation so God is pleased with their choice.
People who don’t really know God will at times feel an urge to do something to get God’s approval, such as by making a donation, helping someone in need or supporting a good cause.
The Bible says something quite startling about pleasing God which most people miss.
Most of us think of pleasing God as an action or choice. Our humanity (what the Bible calls our ‘flesh’) is keen to earn merit by what we do. The Bible calls such activity ‘works’.
When the Apostle Paul compared the flesh with the Spirit in his letter to the church at Galatia he used two contrasting words to describe what each produces.
He said the flesh produces ‘works’ while the spirit produces ‘fruit’.
“Now the works of the flesh are evident” Galatians 5:19
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness …” Galatians 5:22
These verses indicate that our human nature will readily incline toward works of service, while our newborn spirit is designed to produce fruit. There is quite a distinction between works and fruit.
It’s no wonder, then, that people who try to please God out of their own ideas will look for things to ‘do’, works to accomplish. And people will compare themselves with others based on the appearance of works of service. Such as, “Oh, he’s a better Christian than me. Look at all the good things he does. I could never be that good.”
What the Bible says, however, cuts right across our human inclination, giving no credit to all the things people do. The Bible says we can only please God by our faith.
“Without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who draws near to God must believe that God exists and that God rewards those who seek Him earnestly.” Hebrews 11:6
Don’t skip over that verse too fast. Look at what it says.
“It is impossible to please God with anything but faith!”
You could slavishly do works of service all day long, but not make one positive impression on God. God is not looking for the things you do with your hands and feet, but the things you do in your heart. When you ‘believe in your heart’ and rely on God, trusting Him to come through for you, putting your faith in Jesus for your salvation and in God for your complete security, God is pleased. In fact, it’s the only way to please God.
I like to apply the words Jesus said to a father who had just heard his little girl had died. The man was a religious leader and he went looking for Jesus because his daughter was very ill. He found Jesus and Jesus agreed to go and heal the girl. But there was an interruption on the way that held things up and then news came that the girl was dead, so there was no need to bother Jesus any longer.
When Jesus heard that news he spoke directly to the father and said, “Only Believe!”
“Overhearing what they said to Jairus, Jesus said to him, Do not fear, only believe.” Mark 5:36
Jesus commanded the father to put aside his deeply disturbed emotions, and the grief that would have swept over him, and to do the one thing that pleases God, to believe.
Jesus then went and raised the girl from the dead.
Only Believe becomes the slogan or catch-cry for those who want to please God.
“What do I have to do to please God?” “Only Believe!”
That doesn’t mean you squat on the floor and do nothing else, as there may be many practical things that need to be attended to, but in your heart you settle that you will trust God, expecting God to come through for you.
If you are searching for something or someone, you keep up your search program, but you commit the problem to God and trust Him to bring a positive outcome. If you are in need of something you may well look at how to find or source that thing, but you also commit it to God and trust that God will provide a supply for you. The emphasis is not on what you are doing to solve the problem. You act responsibly and do what you can. The emphasis is on your heart and your choice to believe God has everything under control and will bring about a wonderful outcome.
Even when things are going bad, you do what you might have to do, but you keep trusting God to bring about a positive outcome, even in the face of hardship, tragedy and loss. You remain confident that God’s Word is true and that all things will work for good, even the dark things of life.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
That confidence, deep inside us, pleases God. There is nothing else that can put a smile on God’s face.
So, every day and in every situation, stop and ask yourself what it is that you have to believe from God. Choose to rely on God and to look to God and to wait on God in each of those situations. That is far more wonderful to God than all the sacrifices you could make, all the good deeds you could do or all the acts of devotion others might tell you are important to do.
You now know what pleases God, so start right now to act in and live by faith.
“For the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, as it is written, The righteous ones will live by faith.” Romans 1:17
Make this a day of Pleasing God.