Recently in these posts, we’ve been taking a look at how authentic Christianity and accountability calls us to grow and change some of the ways we think, speak and act. To transform our minds, as the Apostle Paul instructs, and change our behaviors in ways that are pleasing to God.
In last week’s blog, we talked about how difficult it is to please God if we don’t know who He is, what He stands for and asks of us. We learned together that, the way in which we can best come to understand these things is by our regularly reading and engaging with His Word (the Bible) wherein, He reveals these truths to us. Even in our daily lives, He often does so through illustrations and the storied experiences of those who’ve gone before us. It’s so much easier for us to be willing to do what someone is asking of us when we better understand (the “why”) and can then buy into (the “what” of) their request. If we know that the person who’s asking, truly loves us and genuinely has our best interests at heart, then we can get into such a better posture of aligning our will, with theirs. That’s the reasoning behind our needing to develop a deeper relationship with God and getting to know who He is and what He desires for us. When we better understand what He shares with us through the Bible, we can then grow in our trust and love for Him.
With that as our foundation, then, this week we turn our attention to pleasing God by learning to do what He says. He doesn’t just say it, He commands it.
Learning to do (or comply with) what God instructs is difficult for most of us, due to our sin nature.
Throughout scripture, we see that we are, by nature, sinful. We have been commanded with truth and yet, given choice from the beginning of time. (Genesis 2:16-17; 3: 1-7)
As believers, we are taught that Jesus, just before He left this world after His resurrection and ascended into heaven, asked the Father to provide His Holy Spirit to reside within us, to guide us and to be an advocate for us. (John 14: 15-18)
Walking in step with the Holy Spirit will allow us to display the gift of the Spirit. (Galatians 5: 22-25) Conversely, when we choose to sin, it is because we have chosen to live in “our flesh” and for our flesh to overcome the Spirit. (Galatians 5:13-21)
Inherently then, we have a moral code written on our hearts. But when making choices that go against that inner knowledge, even when we may not think we really want to, we sin. And, if we follow our flesh frequently enough, it will eventually become difficult for us to distinguish our good thoughts, speech and behavior, from bad. We may even go so far as to become deceived and begin to deny that we’ve gone against God. (1 John 1:8)
Our continual, unrepentant sin is not pleasing to God. (Romans 8:7-8)
Those who are in the realm of the flesh, cannot please God. The only way we can please God is to acknowledge our sin, repent of it, and (fully) submit to his omnipotent authority in our lives.
We begin to please God by accepting, receiving, acknowledging and proclaiming His son, Jesus Christ, as our Savior and Lord (Romans 10: 9-10).
Only those who come to God through his son can be forgiven and made right with him (John 14:6).
Through His Son, Jesus, we can be made right with God and receive our salvation. We receive salvation as a gift (Ephesians 2: 8-9). It cannot be earned, no matter how good we may try to be.
It also pleases God, however, when we actually accept and receive the gifts he offers us: forgiveness (Acts 2:38) eternal life (John 3: 16-18) and a relationship with Him as our Father. Once we’ve been born again, as a child of God (John 3:3), we are, at once, pleasing to him.
When we accept and come to know Christ Jesus this way, we are then, in Christ and therefore seen by God as perfect; just as Christ is perfect. And this pleases our Heavenly Father. The Lord’s righteousness was placed on our account when our sin was transferred to him.
Therefore, if we believe, we don’t have to work toward becoming acceptable to God. We are, as scripture teaches, accepted in the beloved Son (Ephesians 1: 5-6); cleansed and forgiven through faith in Jesus.
Because of this great gift and the love poured out on us by our Heavenly Father, we discover many more ways to please Him. Once we understand and begin to trust in His great love for us, we can begin to grow in our desire to please Him.
It’s one of the reasons, I believe, that our relationship with God and the concept of pleasing Him is often compared to that of a marriage between a husband and a wife. And how, even in singlehood, I believe it is valid and hope you will relate with the following examples:
- A woman accepts a man’s proposal of marriage and becomes his wife and he, her husband because they love one another.
- They are as married and in love as two people can be, yet they seek ways to continue pleasing one another.
- He brings her flowers, not because he thinks (or hopes) that, in doing so, she will stay married to him but because he genuinely delights in pleasing her.
- She rubs his tired shoulders and sore neck after a hard day at work, again, not just so he will continue to be her husband, but because she loves him and delights in helping relieve his stress and discomfort.
Likewise, when we enter into a spiritual relationship with God, He delights in us and we naturally want to do things that honor and glorify Him.
Throughout this post, you’ve likely noticed many links to scripture. While somewhat time-consuming, it was nonetheless intentional in order (hopefully) to illustrate how, by our coming to study, know and follow the Word of God, we really can learn to do what He asks and to please Him. (In fact, please go ahead and forget any of the words I’ve written but sear into your hearts and minds those contained within the links to God’s Word. Seek and research to find more. Keep them before you until/so that they can become the very fabric of your existence.)
A right relationship is often found, maintained and grown in doing things that are pleasing to one another.
It’s so helpful when others with whom we are in relationship tell us what those things are.
God loves us so much that, over and over again throughout His Word, He lets us know what pleases Him.
Thanks be to God; He doesn’t keep us guessing.
Now, it’s our turn to respond.
Right here with you,