Pleasing to God
The gospel assures us that when we come to God through faith in Christ we are justified by the Father and accepted as one of his own. All our sins are forgiven, and we are declared to be righteous in the eyes of the Creator. This new status before God is perfect and complete. We could not possibly be more accepted by the Father than we already are in Christ, and we will never be accepted any less.
But the doctrine of justification does not mean that we cannot please God more than we do, or less than we do.
The New Testament is filled with verses that describe ways Christians can be pleasing to God. We please God when we offer our bodies to him as living sacrifices. We please God when we give financially to his work. We please God when we intercede in prayer for others, when we care for our elderly parents, when we worship God’s name, and when we keep his commands. Children please God when they are obedient to their parents. Adults please God when they are sexually pure. We are instructed to find out what pleases God, and to make it our goal in life to please him. (Rom. 12:1; Phil. 4:18; 1 Tim. 2:3; 1 Tim. 5:4; Heb. 13:16; 1 Jn. 3:22; Col. 3:20; 1 Thess. 4:1ff; Eph. 5:10; 2 Cor. 5:9.)
Is your life pleasing to God? Rather than filling you with guilt or despair, that question can give you joy.
I had the blessing of being raised in a very loving home. As a child, I always knew that no matter what I did, my father would always love me. Because my dad loved me so much, I desired to please him. When my father approved of the way I cut the lawn or smiled at seeing my report card, I was filled with joy. When my dad frowned at me for teasing my sister, I felt ashamed to have let him down. It made me happy to make my father happy. It broke my heart to make him sad. Though I am glad my father always loved me, I am also glad that he did not always feel the same way about my behavior. How empty life would have been if the possibility had not existed that I could do something to bring my father joy.
Isn’t it wonderful, Christian, to wake up in the morning knowing that you can bring joy to your heavenly Father today? Your prayers, your worship, your giving, your obedience, all of these are pleasing to God. You do not need to work to get God to love and accept you. That work was fully accomplished on the cross by Christ. But there are things you can do that can elicit God’s smile. There are things you can do that he will find pleasing. Isn’t that amazing! How empty life would be if there was nothing you could do to bring your Father joy.