Tuesday, May 15, 2012

How Do You Please God?

In the last interview before his death, Jerry Falwell was asked what he wanted God to say to him at the pearly gates.

"That's easy," he said without hesitation, "He'll say, 'Well done, good and faithful servant.'"

Not, "I WANT Him to say well done, good and faithful servant," but "HE'LL SAY, 'Well done, good and faithful servant.'"

He was certain God was pleased with him.

I wish I knew his secret. How can one be that sure? How do you know when you've pleased God?

When things go haywire in my life, I question myself. What did I do to deserve this? Am I being punished by God? But the Bible says, "the Lord disciplines those He loves and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son." (Hebrews 12:6)

Are we looking for conventional displays of pleasure from an unconventional God? Do we look for what will please us--financial blessing, stress-free lives, meaningful relationships? Are we peering through human eyes with little depth or understanding?

Throughout the history of the world, Christians have been persecuted, not applauded for their efforts. Missionaries sacrifice their lives and I doubt their children left behind feel it was a reward for good service. Success in God's eyes rarely resembles what we'd call success here on earth. So how do we gauge God's pleasure?

We've got to trust His Word, don't you think?

Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”
John 14:27

And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
Hebrews 13:6

And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
Matthew 3:17

Do you obey His commands?
Do you do good and share with others?
Are you His child?

If you can answer yes to each question, chances are you're pleasing God.

It takes faith to trust that you please Him, doesn't it? Did Jerry Falwell have certainty because he had strong faith? Can I have the same assurance if I take scripture seriously and believe it? Have I been trying to prove myself to God and others instead of relying on His Word at face value?

The truth is we please God if we are His child, if we love Him, and do what He says. End of story. He is not more impressed with us if we perform mighty works or evangelize thousands. I don't love my children more when they achieve a certain status. They don't gain more favor in my eyes by being the valedictorian or winning a regent's scholarship or securing a high-paying job. I love them, period. I just can't help it. And likewise, if we are His, if we have professed Jesus as Lord and believe in our hearts God raised Him from the dead, He is pleased with us. Period. The hard things we go through are not a punishment. They are meant for our growth.

If you're feeling picked on or going through a tough time or wondering if God's forgotten you, fight the urge to think God doesn't care. He must be pleased with you, must be planning something special for your life to bother with discipline. You may be on the right track. Hang in there. Keep pursuing God hard. Know, as Jerry Falwell did, that you are His faithful servant, no matter what your circumstances suggest.

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever — do not abandon the works of your hands.

Psalm 138:8

Do you struggle in feeling God's pleasure?

Photo Credit: elycefeliz

No comments: