God loves all His children. Some give Him more pleasure than others. Ask any parent. Obedience brings more joy than disobedience. Jesus said, “I always do what is pleasing to him” (John 8:29). Perhaps that is why the Father spoke from heaven, “You are my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Mark 1:11).
Enoch had a reputation for pleasing God (Hebrews 11:5). Way to go, Enoch. So did Daniel. He was called “greatly beloved” three times in the Scripture (Daniel 9:23, 10:10, 10:18). Mary found special favor with God and was given an assignment many mothers in Israel coveted.
Do you know what pleases God? Would you like to be one of those that God brags about to the angels like He did with Daniel? I would. Then we probably ought to do as Paul says, “try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:10).
WHAT DOESN’T PLEASE GOD?
Unbelief doesn’t please God. “Without faith it is impossible to please him” (Hebrews 11:6a). Jesus marveled at two things, great faith and the lack of it. Unbelief is an insult to the Almighty. It says that He is small rather than great, unkind rather than merciful, unfaithful rather than loyal to His word.
Anything we do in the flesh rather than in the Spirit cannot please God (Romans 8:8). I am incapable of walking in righteousness without God, but my flesh sure wants to give it a try. Whenever I cooperate with my selfish flesh, I am making an end run around the cross. Jesus may as well not have died. “Yet it was the will of the Lord to bruise him” (Isaiah 53:10). When I cling to the cross, trusting more than trying, going with the mercy system rather than the merit system, I make the Father happy. And Jesus sees the “fruit of the travail of his soul and (is) satisfied” (11).
WHAT PLEASES GOD?
After telling the people of Judah what didn’t please God, the prophet called them to walk in humility (Micah 6:8). God gave Solomon the right to ask for anything he wanted. When he asked for wisdom rather than riches or a long life, “it pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this” (I Kings 3:10). Good choices please parents—and Father God. “The words of the pure are pleasing to him” (Proverbs 15:26).
“The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him” (Psalm 147:11).
WHAT ARE THE RESULTS OF PLEASING GOD?
- We escape the lure of the flesh (Ecclesiastes 7:26). Young men, pay attention. If you choose to please God rather than giving in to the pull of the flesh, you will avoid the shipwreck that takes many out of the game. Think Samson and Demas.
- We pass our tests (I Thessalonians 2:4), and they become testimonies.
- We receive answers to prayer, “because we obey his commands and do what pleases him” (I John 3:22). What a way to live!