Once we have our salvation, is it important to please God? Scripture tells us that when some one sinner is saved, there is great rejoicing in heaven [Luke 15:7]. We assume that includes God as well, and I am sure that nothing pleases Him more than sinners coming to accept His Son. Once we accept Jesus, we cannot loose our salvation other than denying the the Holy Spirit, and turning our backs on Jesus. Is it then important to please God after we have gained our salvation, and if so, how do we do that and what difference does it make? If we truly wish to please God the Bible gives us seven ways in which to do that.
In the book of Hebrews there is a verse that every Christian should know and pay attention to:
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” [Hebrews 11:6]
It is no use then, just asking Jesus into our lives, with without faith that means nothing, although this is the starting point, asking Jesus into our lives we cannot please God until we develop or receive the gift, of faith. As we have seen previously in Bible Studies, the words faith and trust are interchangeable. Like any father God loves to see His children trusting Him, it is trust that makes us Christians a family. There is more to this faith/trust issue in pleasing God, especially in this modern age when pseudo-science is continually attempts to disprove God's creation and the existence of God Himself. If we accept Him and what God has inspired for His word, in faith, it will please Him. In Genesis 5:24 we read that Enoch pleased God so much that he did not dies, but was taken directly to heaven. Enoch lived before the flood in a time of great evil, but Enoch resisted the evil and walked with God and so pleased Him. Hebrews 11:5 tells us that by faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not die, they obviously looked for him but couldn't find him, and that he had been commended for pleasing God.
Our second method for pleasing God is to be 'spiritual', man has two minds, given by God, the flesh and the spiritual. The flesh mind is led by the world, but the spiritual is led by the Holy Spirit [Romans 8:6-8]. The Romans verse tells us that the mind of flesh is death, and that those who have the mind of the flesh cannot please God, The very next verse (9) however, assures us that we are not in the flesh because we have the Spirit within us. The apostle Peter summed this us in Acts 2:38 that we should be baptised in name of the Christ for the forgiveness of our sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. In his preamble to the Romans 8 verse Paul shared something about his own experience with these double mind-sets. He insists that “Christ will deliver us: “But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” [Romans 8:25]. He continues that the Spirit witnesses to our spirit that we are the children of God and that we are heirs of God with Christ, provided we suffer with Him so that we may be glorified with Him [Romans 8:16-17], as we have seen that Heaven rejoices over one sinner added to the family [Luke 15:7].
Our third way to please God is to fear Him, Psalm 147:1 says: “but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.” There are so many things we fear in this world, the weather, accidents, terrorism, crime, and for Christians Satan and his demons, to mention just a few. We have often heard that the things of God are not scary, whereas the things of the devil most certainly are frightening, so why would our loving Father be pleased by us fearing Him? Of course what we are talking about is the wrong fear, so there must be a positive and negative fear, so fearing God must not be the terrifying fear that comes from the negative. When I was a child I loved my father, but my dad was a disciplinarian, si as much as I loved him I also feared him, I feared crossing him or doing something wrong that he would find out about. This is then very like the fear we should have with God, remember the servant who buried his talent (weight of coins) in the parable of the unfaithful servant [Matthew 25:25]? That servant showed fear toward his master, which is how we should fear when we do wrong before God. But He is our Father and treats us as His children with discipline and love.
It is certainly not God's will that we should be terrified of Him, maybe unbelievers should, but our God is the one that heals the broken-hearted and heals our wounds [Psalm 147:3]. This Psalm actually is in praise of His mercy and knowledge and power to save the humble [Psalm 147:4-6]. His word tells us to fear Him for our sakes rather than for His sake, although it pleases Him, that we should realise His power and show respect for Him. Certainly the power that created the universe buy His word should be respected, something more powerful than we s humans can understand. In the end, God will hold us accountable for our actions, but our respect for God will be a great motivation for us to avoid sin [Exodus 20:20]. Fearing those repercussions allows us to rely upon Him and His law, which leads to make our love for Him stronger, and develop that relationship we have for the One who created this universe.
The forth way to please God is to follow Jesus Christ's example. At His baptism God announced to all present that: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” [Matthew 17:5]. During the event that we call the Transfiguration, where Jesus said that before they died, some of His disciples would see Jesus “coming in His kingdom.”[Matthew 16:28 and Mark 9:1 & Luke 9:27]. About a week later the promise was fulfilled in Matthew17:1-9 [Mark 9:2-10; Luke 9:28-36] when Jesus 'Transfigured before them [Matthew 17:2; Mark 9:2]. During that vision of the Kingdom, God confirmed to Peter, James and John the importance of Jesus, that Jesus was in reality His Son and that no one has pleased Him more, something that we should all take on board. Jesus was to be our example and role-model, and as Jesus said that He did the things that pleased His Father [John 8:29], therefore we study His life, learn 'what Jesus would do', so that we can please God too. It is important to note that between the four Gospels, there is an almost complete record of Jesus' life on Earth. During that time of ministry Jesus He faced every emotional crisis that we will ever face, anger, grief and more. Those reactions to life's problems should be the very ones that we follow in our daily life. Jesus prayed regularly, attended synagogue on the seventh day Sabbath, read the scriptures and observed God's ordained feasts.
The fifth way to please God is to obey Him, God delights over His people who obey Him. “And Samuel said, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.” [1 Samuel 15:22]. In the above verse Samuel is expressing God's displeasure at King Saul's disobedience of a direct command. Saul had an excuse, that the 'people' wanted to give what should have been destroyed to God instead, but God does not want sacrifice and gifts if it means breaking His divine laws. Our obedience is not there for God's sake but for ours, because it is good for us [Deuteronomy 10:13], as a result of obedience we grow in our character, which grows more like Him. Pleasing God through obediance is well documented throughout God's word, that He will bless those who “keep my Sabbaths” [Exodus 31:13; Leviticus 19:3; Isaiah 56:4 and more], He asks us to choose what pleases 'Me' and to abstain from sexual immorality, avoiding breaking God's commandments [1 Chronicles 29:17; Thessalonians 4:1-3]. God's law is NOT the thousands of laws written by the leaders and scribe of Israel, God's law composes of those laws given directly by Him, through Christ or His Prophets. Although we have been given salvation through His Son, so that IF we sin we are forgiven, surely we should also seek to please God by obeying Hid commands?
The sixth way of pleasing God is simply to do His will; “equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” [Hebrews 13:21]. What is God's will? We will never know God's will if we do not pray constantly [1 Thessalonians 5:17] and listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit. It is through His Spirit that God gives us His instructions and guides us into His will. His plans However, are given through His word, which was provided for us as a guide for His will, it also helps us to make sense of what the Spirit tells us and gives us an insight into the mind of God. Our study of the Bible, praying and meditating on His word is the key to gaining understanding of God's will. His will is more than knowing what He wants of us, it also involves doing the good works that He tells us to do, so that we can again become more like the character of Jesus and His Father [Matthew 5:48]. As we have seen above Jesus Christ is the perfect example of of doing God's will, when He was arrested, beaten and crucified according to His Father's will, He even asked to be excused from doing it, but continued anyway [Luke 22:42]. Jesus gave Himself over totally to pleasing the Father, by doing His will, for our sakes, so must we, seek His will through prayer and the Spirit in order to please Him.
Lastly the seventh way to please God is to give Him the sacrifice that He requires from us. “Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16 Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” [Hebrews 13:15-16]. Despite the earlier verse we looked at above about God preferring obedience ove sacrifice, God is still pleased with our sacrifice to Him. Anything we give up for Him can be counted as a sacrifice, from the time we give Him to the money we give. We have all heard of giving a 'sacrifice of praise' [Hebrews 13:15], which is the sacrifice of praising Him is word, song or music. Giving Him the glory for the good things that happen can also be classed as a sacrifice, the alternative is to proclaim, “Look what I've done,” praising ourselves. Sacrifice can also include sharing what we have with others, who are maybe in need, seeing a need and filling or as God's Spirit directs, and being obedient in doing so. Of course these acts of sacrifice are summed up in Jesus' teaching on love which is condensed into His 'Great Commandments' that condense the rest of the law:
“And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
No matter what we 'do' or 'give' to God it pales into insignificance when compared what He has done for us, or what He wants and will do for us in the future. In this life He makes the promise of wonderful gifts for those who please Him and do His will. Proverbs 16:7 says: “When a man's ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.“ and for the future He has kept the very best for His faithful: “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”[Luke 12:32]. God promises that for those who please Him there will be a special place in the New Earth, His kingdom, to be able to live in His presence at His right hand. King David knew God intimately and passed on His promise to all those who were yet to come:
In God's love.