December 4, 2018

What Pleases God

“Abraham put his trust in the Lord, and because of this the Lord was pleased with him and accepted him.”  Genesis 15:6 (GN)

We’ve been talking about Abraham’s “friendship” with God.  His relationship with God shows us what it takes to please God and to be accepted by God.  While religion bases acceptance on performance, Abraham’s relationship pleased God not because of what he did, but what he believed.  He believed God.  He “put his trust in the Lord and because of this the Lord was pleased with him and accepted him.”  In fact, the Bible says it was his faith that credited him with righteousness, not his works.  It’s natural to think you must work to be accepted by God.  One group of seekers came to Jesus and asked, 

“What must we do to do the works God requires?” John 6:28 (NIV)

Can’t you hear the longing for God’s acceptance in their request?  Many sincere seekers today labor diligently to be accepted, trying to earn their position with God and others.  But, Jesus said to those seekers, 

“The work of God is this:  TO BELIEVE in the one He has sent.” (v. 29)

That’s it?  Just believe?  That’s it!  Just believe and receive His unmerited favor!  As to those seekers then, He says to seekers today that the only work God desired was faith or trust in Jesus as Messiah and Son of God.  The “work” that God requires is to believe in His Son.  That’s what pleases God.  In fact, the Scripture says, 

“And without faith it is impossible to please God ….” Hebrews 11:6a (NIV)

Have you been on the religious treadmill of trying to earn God’s favor, thinking that, “If I could just do more good, maybe I could outweigh the bad?  Perhaps then, God would be pleased with me and accept me?”  Take heart friend.  God doesn’t call us “achievers” but “believers.”  Then how can you please God?

  • Like Abraham, just put your trust in God.  Trust the fact that He loves you
  • Accept His acceptance.  Receive, by faith, His forgiveness made possible by what He did for you, not by what you can do for Him.
  • Thank Him for loving you.  Rejoice in the fact that God accepts you by faith!  Through Christ, you and I are pleasing to God!

The Bible says, 

“The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”  Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV)

Isn’t that the connection you seek with God — to know He is pleased with you, to cease your striving to be accepted and rest in the confidence that God accepts you on the basis of His grace and not your performance?  If so, listen to the invitation of Christ again:

“Are you tired?  Worn out?  Burned out on religion?  Come to Me.  Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life.  I’ll show you how to take a real rest.  Walk with Me and work with Me – watch how I do it.  Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.  I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.  Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”  Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)

Did you hear His invitation?

  1. “Come to Me ….” 
  2. “Get away with Me ….” 
  3. “Walk with Me ….” 
  4. “Work with Me ….” 
  5. “Learn the unforced rhythms of grace ….” 
  6. “Keep company with Me ….”

How could anyone resist that offer?  That’s what pleases God!