If we are going to walk in a manner pleasing to the Lord then we need to know what pleases him. Remember, as we discussed in Part 1 of this post, this isn’t about keeping God “happy” with us, it’s about living up to how he sees us. It is a way of life that conveys to others that we belong to God. It is a way of life that brings glory to him.
We will stumble and fall along the way, but the overall story of our lives is what counts. David messed up a lot, but he was a man after God’s own heart. Abraham didn’t always obey God; he had Sarah lie two times about being his sister. But he was called the friend of God.
Paul prays a beautiful prayer for the Colossians in the first chapter of that book that mentions pleasing God. “so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the Kingdom of light.” (Colossians 1:10-12 NIV) According to Paul’s prayer the things that are pleasing to God and result in living a life worth of him are bearing fruit in good works, growing in our knowledge of God, enduring hard times with patience, and joyful thanks to God.
I Thessalonians also uses the phrase “pleasing to God”. “As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of Lord Jesus. It is God’s will that you should be sanctified…” (I Thessalonians 4:1-3a NIV) Paul then goes on to instruct them to not get involved in sexual immorality in any way, that they should live holy lives. He also instructs them to live in a way that gains the respect of others. These are behaviors that are associated with being sanctified, the process of becoming pure or Christ-like.
What else is pleasing to God? We are told in Hebrews 11 that without faith it is impossible to please God. Therefore we can conclude that faith is very important to God. Abraham was counted as righteous because of his faith. In the Old Testament it was faith that saved and it is still faith that saves today. Our whole relationship with God is started with faith in his Son, Jesus and his finished work on the cross and his resurrection. We need to continue in faith in our relationship with him. We need to trust in his character and promises, even when circumstances tempt us to doubt. We need to put our faith in the message of the Cross and its truths.
Our motivation for everything we do should be to please God, our heavenly Father, who loves us beyond all measure and has given us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms. (Eph 1:3) We are not to please God out of fear of a terrible task master, however, but out of love and gratitude for what he has done for us. For example, if our motivation to read the Bible is to know God better and not to check if off our list (and not because “good Christians” read their bible daily), then it is pleasing to him. Or going to help out at a soup kitchen because we genuinely want to show God’s love (and not because it makes us feel good about ourselves.)
Living a life pleasing to God is a process, a continual growing to maturity. God is more interested in our progress than each time we mess up. Are we growing in our knowledge of Him? Are we dealing with the hard times of life with more patience and joy? Do others respect us? Are we maintaining purity in our thoughts and actions? Those are the questions we need to ask ourselves. How are you doing? Are you growing, or are you at a standstill? I pray that you are growing in manner pleasing to the Lord.