Holy Spirit has had me thinking lately about what pleases God. When I considered the question, I discovered the answer wasn’t as obvious as I previously thought. God has a lot to say on this subject in His Word and much of what pleases Him is also what we, as human beings, value in a close, personal relationship.
The first scripture that came to mind is Jesus replying to the scribe who asked Him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear O Israel: The Lord our God is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31)
The very foundation of pleasing God is loving Him completely, wholeheartedly, and single mindedly. He has shown us what this love looks like in the first four commandments and Jesus’ earthly life. We acknowledge that He is the LORD, the only true God and we are to have no other gods in our lives. That means we avoid finding our security in things like our jobs, family, money, health, and possessions, or putting our trust in the government, military, or economy. We honor and respect His Holy name and avoid using it carelessly, irreverently, or presumptuously. We worship Him by observing a weekly Sabbath rest and dedicating that day to Him. (Exodus 20:2-11)
God calls us to love Him by also loving His creation. We recognize that every human being is created in His image and love them accordingly. God gives us specific instructions in commandments six through ten:
- We are to honor (respect, obey and care for) our earthly parents
- We are not to commit murder (unjustified, deliberate taking of another person’s life)
- We are not to commit adultery and violate our marriage vows
- We are not to steal (openly, fraudulently, or through carelessness) or take what does not belong to us
- We are not to testify falsely (lie, withhold, or manipulate the truth) against any person
- We are not to covet (selfishly desire and attempt to acquire) anything or anyone that belongs to our neighbor (Exodus 20:12-17 AMP)
Our faith is another thing that pleases God. Hebrews 11:6 tells us that “without faith it is impossible to please Him (God), for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.” God is pleased when we have confident assurance in “His precious and very great promises” (2 Peter 1:4) and are convinced of the reality of what we cannot experience with our physical senses. We worship Him in “spirit and truth” (John 4:24) and set our hearts and minds on the things in the heavenly realm and not on things of this earth (Colossians 3:2).
Humility is also a character trait that God highly values. Recognition of His authority as Creator of the universe and submission to His good and perfect will leads to obedience. He is pleased when we make Him the most important person in our lives and seek His guidance and direction daily. Jesus pointed out in Luke 6:47 that we can’t call Him Lord and continue to go our own way and do our own thing: “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and not do what I tell you?” The apostle John recorded Jesus telling His disciples that if they loved Him, they would “keep His Word” (John 14:21) and “keep His commandments” (John 14:23). We are to be doers of the Word, not hearers only (James 1:22.)
Some other things that please God:
Gratitude – “I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds” (Psalm 9:1)
Generosity – “give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you” (Luke 6:38) Cheerful giving – Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).
God does not want a long-distance relationship with us. He wants a personal and intimate relationship where He is involved in every aspect of our lives. He wants us to know Him by direct experience. “For to the one who pleases Him God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy” (Ecclesiastes 2:26). He reveals Himself through the gift of Holy Spirit who dwells in us. When we know Him we come to love Him. When we love Him, we trust Him. And when we trust Him, we obey Him. When we humble ourselves under His mighty hand, He exalts us in due time (1 Peter 5:6). He takes pleasure in our love, trust, and obedience and “adorns the humble with salvation” (Psalm 149:4).
God Himself does the work of sanctifying us completely, keeping our whole spirit and soul and body blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:23). He is pleased when we are conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 13:14), become His children (John 1:12), and consistently demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22.) Jesus said in John 15:8 that His Father is glorified when we bear much fruit and prove to be His disciples. The apostle Paul, in Colossians 1:10, exhorts us to “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”
God is pleased when we extend the love we share with Him to others. We are to: “rejoice, aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, and live in peace so the God of love and peace will be with you” (2 Corinthians 13:11) and “not neglect to do good and share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God” (Hebrews 13:16.)
Now that we know what kind of behavior pleases God, let’s resolve to demonstrate our love for Him by choosing what pleases Him rather than trying to please “man” or satisfy selfish desires. When we do this consistently, we will experience blessings “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:21 NKJV.)