By Faith: Pleasing God

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checklistOk, let’s start by a show of hands today… How many of you want to please God?  Me, me, me, me!!!!

How many of you believe God is pleased by you? (Crickets, ahem.)

For me, I believe God loves me and forgives me, but I’m often unsure (until I look at His Word to remind myself) that He is pleased with me.  As humans and even as parents, we love others. We love our children. However, whether or not we are pleased with others (our co-workers, spouse, children, President, etc.) is mainly based on their performance, right? When their performance is adequate, then we are pleased.  The good news? This is SO NOT the case with God!

If pleasing the Lord is our goal (and it should be, by the way), here’s what God says in His Word in Hebrews 11:6, “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.”

Did you notice that PLEASING God isn’t only about the checklist we often apply to our lives:

  • Church (check),
  • Nice to spouse (check),
  • Give in the offering (check),
  • Honest on my tax return (check)…

We often believe that if we just DO those things, even with a crummy attitude, then we’re pleasing God. Again,  pleasing God isn’t only about the checklist we apply to our lives.

However, when you do these things on the checklist (which are often good, godly, and God-pleasing things), when you pray, read your Bible, help those in need, serve in the church, give of your time, resources, and energy, and so on ALL while trusting the Lord and knowing that your faith is in Him alone…. Whew. That is what TRULY pleases the Lord.

Remember this too, “Faith without works is dead.” James 2:26 says, “Just as the body is dead without breath, so also FAITH is dead without works.” So, without FAITH, it’s IMPOSSIBLE to please God, but that doesn’t negate the WORKS part of FAITH.  It’s still a worthy cause to do good for and to all you can.

What is faith?

Faith is a confident CONVICTION that God is who He said He is and that He will do what He said He will do.

Faith is a necessary FOUNDATION and FUEL for every Christian.

  • Faith is a foundation because it supports us.
  • Faith is a fuel because it sustains us.
  • Our Christian walk cannot survive without faith.

Faith is BASED on God and on His Word.

  • Faith is not based on what we see or what we feel.
  • Faith is not based on a person, a system, or on our own ability.
  • Faith is based on God and on His Word.

“To trust God in the light is nothing, but to trust him in the dark – that is faith.” – Charles Spurgeon

“And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

When one analyzes the original language of Hebrews, which was Ancient Greek, the word “please” as in “to please God” translates into euaresteo which also means “to walk with God.” So, in other words, it’ is impossible to “walk with God” without faith.

Let this be our goal: to have faith so that our lives are pleasing to God, so that we walk with God. Remember, pleasing God and walking with God are the same in this context.

Here are 2 determinations we can use to gauge our FAITH:

When we have faith, when we walk with the Lord, when we please Him we know that…

  1. By faith, we trust that God is REAL: “Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists.”
    • Have you ever thought about your brain?  You know that mass inside your skull that controls ALL parts of your body?  Your brain processes everything your eyes see, ears hear, tongue tastes.  It knows the keyboard on the computer, how to boil an egg, and remembers your grandparents phone number!  Not only does it know and recall all of those things, but all the things you see, hear, taste, touch, read every second of every day…  It filters out all of the UNNEEDED information!  WOW!  And, that is only ONE part of the body that God created!  God EXISTS!
  2. By faith, we also trust that God is a REWARDER: “He rewards those who sincerely seek Him.”
    • Do you believe God rewards? Sometimes, we allow our personal feelings of inadequacy block our God-given rewards because of
      • our past,
      • what others have said to and about us
      • our own personal battles with addictionsYou are MORE than your feelings.
  • What kind of rewards can we expect from God when it comes to faith?
    • You will be surrounded by mercy: Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; But he who trusts in the LORD, mercy shall surround him. Psalm 32:10
    • You will be kept in perfect peace: You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3
    • You will not be moved: Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved,but abides forever. Psalm 125:1
    • You will be happy: He who heeds the word wisely will find good, and whoever trusts in the LORD, happy is he. Proverbs 16:20

Too often, our expectations of God’s rewards are of the temporary nature: new car, large house, a raise at work, and so on. However, the rewards He offers (and I only named a few) are often more INTERNAL & ETERNAL!!

I love how John Piper sums up pleasing God with our faith: “What pleases God is that our hearts and minds display God’s being and God’s beauty. That we display God’s existence and His excellence. That we display how real he is and how rewarding he is. This is what pleases God, and this is faith.”

By faith, may we walk with Him.  May we please our Heavenly Father. Amen.

 

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