Introduction

How can we please God? Ideally, every Christian wants to please God, but how do you do it?  The Bible does reveal to us how we can please God.  What I do in this study is to examine some Bible characters who pleased God to see how they did it.  What did they do such that God was pleased?

Jesus

(Luke 3:22 KJV) “And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.”

Why was God pleased with Jesus at this point? What had Jesus Christ done so that God was pleased with him? Consider the following scripture.

(Luke 2:52 NIV) “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”

Here we see that Jesus matured (as an adult human being) and he grew in wisdom. So thus far Jesus grew in wisdom as well as stature and he grew in favor with God and with people. But why did he grow in favor with God and others? What else do we know about Jesus’ life that would give us more clues as to how he pleased God? There is another incidence recorded about Jesus’ life that could give us more clues.

Luke 2:49-52 (NKJV) And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them. Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

Here we see that Jesus at a young age was doing those things pertaining to God. Perhaps he was learning some of the things that would be necessary for his ministry. One thing we can see about Jesus here is that he pursued.

Enoch

Consider another scripture.

(Hebrews 11:5 NIV) “By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.”

What did Enoch do such that he pleased God? Consider the following scripture.

(Genesis 5:22-24 NIV) “And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. {23} Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. {24} Enoch walked with God; then he was no more because God took him away.”

We see that Enoch walked with God. That is, Enoch’s lifestyle was consistent with God’s Way. A clue as to what “walking with God” really means can be seen with Noah.

Noah

Consider the following scripture

(Genesis 6:9 NIV) “This is the account of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.”

From this scripture, we see that Noah had integrity (was blameless) and he was righteous (right-standing with God). However, the righteousness here could have been a relative term since the scripture continues with the word “and” when referring to walking with God. We can reasonably say that walking with God involves righteousness relative to God’s Way.

Solomon

Read 1 Kings 3:5-14.

Here we see that God told Solomon to ask what he wanted God to give him. Solomon asked for an understanding to govern God’s people and to establish justice. He asked this instead of riches, long life, or the defeat of his enemies. The Bible says that God was pleased with Solomon’s words.

1 Kings 3:10 (NKJV) The speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.

Some clues here as to what pleased God are as follows.

  1. Solomon dealt with the present situation that God had given him and therefore prayed according to God’s will. After all, God chose him to be king so it would stand to reason that God would equip him to be king.
  2. Solomon did not use the opportunity for himself but for service to God
  3. Solomon was concerned about justice

From Micah

Micah 6:6 through Micah 6:8 (NKJV) With what shall I come before the Lord, And bow myself before the High God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, With calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, Ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?

God is here seen to be pleased with the following.

  1. For us to do justly
  2. To love mercy
  3. To walk humbly with God

Other Clues

There are some other things that the Bible records that please God.

(Philippians 2:13 KJV) “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

God works in us in order to purpose and to do what pleases him. We see here that the ability to please God comes from God himself.

(Psalms 35:27 KJV) “Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant.”

The word pleasure that is used in this verse actually refers more to the concept of safety or well-being then it does to the abundance of riches or money. God is pleased with the safety and well being of His people.

(Psalms 147:11 KJV) “The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.”

The word fear means to revere (as in awe or great respect). It also says that God is pleased with those who hope in his mercy. To hope means to expect or patiently anticipate. The word mercy here refers to kindness or favor. Therefore, God is pleased when we expect or trust in his kindness (or love) towards us.

Another important aspect concerning pleasing God is that we cannot please him without faith (confidence and trust in him). The Bible says,

(Hebrews 11:6 KJV) “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

In order to please God, we must have faith in him. Faith here refers to dependence, reliance, and confidence in God. This implies that God wants us to depend on Him.

Our Findings

What have we learned in regards to pleasing God?

  1. God is pleased when we walk with Him
  2. God is pleased when we practice justice
  3. God is pleased with we love
  4. God is pleased when we are merciful
  5. God is pleased when we strive for His will for our lives
  6. God is not pleased with mere ritual.
  7. God is pleased when we have faith in him
  8. God is pleased when we revere him
  9. God is pleased when we hope in his mercy

We also know that it gives God pleasure when we believe in his son, Jesus Christ since that is what his desire is for us (1 Timothy 2:4).  Therefore, we should strive overall to “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.” It pleases God when we pursue Him and live according to His way.

 


Pleasing God
By William R. Cunningham
September 20, 2003