Believers should be intensely interested in what pleases God. As such, we properly understand from the Word of God that God is pleased with Himself, with His Son, with His own will, and with all that He Himself does. But beyond that generic truth, we read statements in His Word telling us specifically that the Lord is pleased with some definite things. Among them are the following.
Believing (or faith). The Bible states this truth negatively: “without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Heb. 11:6). So far as human life and endeavor go, pleasing God begins with saving faith. The most strenuous, lengthy, self-sacrificial effort when devoid of genuine faith only displeases God (see I Cor. 13:1-3). It is a matter of human nature to believe that human effort is the ultimate expression of what is pleasing to God. But the reality is that God is pleased ultimately with Himself and what He has said and done. Therefore, what pleases Him is belief, trust, confidence, and rest (faith) in all that He has said about His Person and Work, as well as all that He has said about our state and all that He has done on our behalf to provide salvation. There is no greater “work” than simply trusting in the Lord and His Word. When, as has been said, we “take God’s side against ourselves,” when we believe Him rather than our circumstances, when we can say with the Apostle Paul, “let God be found true, though every man be found a liar” (Rom. 3:4), we honor and please Him. There is no work that can please the Lord until we savingly believe, nor once we are saved can we please Him more than by taking Him at His word, fully and absolutely. No works ever surpass that of confident, quiet, on-going faith.
Obedience. Of course, the truth in the preceding paragraph does not nullify the forceful fact that faith and obedience are inseparable or that obedience pleases God. Scripture is chock-full of commands to obey and examples of saints who pleased God by doing so. John encourages us with this assurance: “and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight” (I John 3:22). The phrase, “do the things that are pleasing in His sight,” is in apposition to “[we] keep His commandments.” We are to understand the two phrases to be synonymous: that is, God is pleased when we obey Him. Paul expresses the same truth in different words: “. . . walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects” (Col. 1:10a). Our “walk” entails a characteristic response of obedience through faith. God is pleased with such behavior.
But in addition to these overarching truths, the Scriptures mention several very specific things that please the Lord.
Obedient children. It should strike us profoundly, that among the relatively few things that the Lord mentions specifically as pleasing Him, one is obedient children: “Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord” (Col. 3:20). That simple declarative statement sets the objective for parental endeavors and the agenda for children to pursue. God knows that a home without discipline is ungodly, unloving, and lurching toward judgment.
Sacrificial giving. That which costs us something but which we freely and willingly give delights the Lord. Paul gives testament to this from his own personal experience. “But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God” (Phil. 4:18).
Previous Page | Next Page