You Are Pleasing to God

Did you know that before Jesus started His earthly ministry, before He did a single miracle, God declared to the world that Jesus was His beloved Son in whom He was pleased? God was pleased with Jesus long before He fed the five thousand, healed a leper, or rose from the dead. God was pleased with Jesus because Jesus was His Son, not because of what Jesus did.

The same is true of you. God is pleased with you because of who you are—His beloved child. We live our lives out of God’s unconditional affection for us. The moment you placed faith in Jesus, He was pleased with you. Put another way, you make God happy. That’s why you don’t have to impress God. He’s in awe of you already.

Most of my life was spent trying to keep God pleased. My struggle was that I never thought He was pleased. I tried so hard to do more and be more for God that eventually I gave up on Him. I didn’t want anything to do with a God who needed me to behave perfectly in order for Him to love me. But one day I discovered that God was pleased with me because of what Jesus had done for me and to me.

This didn’t cause me to want to take advantage of all that Jesus did for me. Instead, I fell in love with Jesus. And as you know, when you love someone, you don’t do less for them; you do more.

This is how God intended things. He wanted us to be motivated by love, not fear. It’s His perfect love that takes away our fear. Most of us have believed that we need to be scared of God. But the biblical concept of fearing God is not about being afraid; it’s about being in awe of how good and loving God is. The Christian life isn’t about us trying to keep an angry God pleased; it’s about us trusting in a loving God who’s already pleased.

I know what you’ve been told: “God loves you, but here are ten things you need to do to keep Him on your side.” That isn’t true. We don’t get saved by God’s goodness and then keep Him happy by our effort and performance. The Bible says that without trust, it’s impossible to please God. Put another way, our trust is the only thing that pleases God. Not our effort or best performance. God is looking for us to trust Him, not strive for Him.

God is asking us to change our focus from doing things for Him to simply trusting and enjoying Him. Here’s the crazy thing: When we trust Him, He leads us to all that He wants us to do, which pleases Him. The best news is, He has given you all the faith you need to trust Him. He has made you faithful and trustworthy. It’s your identity to trust God. It’s what you crave.

I know this can be tough to learn. I struggle with people pleasing. Many of us don’t even realize we’ve been trained to work hard to please everyone. It’s how the world is. We work hard to get good grades and impress our teachers. We work hard and play hard to impress our parents and coaches. No matter what it is, we’re all working hard to impress and please others.

But God’s system is different. We’re not working toward something; we’re working from it. We’re living and working and playing from God’s approval of and pleasure with us. It’s like playing a game knowing we already won and that we’re the MVP.

That’s why Jesus is all about relationship, not religion. He wants us to simply know Him and live from His love. That’s the paradox of pleasing God: we’re already pleasing to Him, and we can still please Him.

We don’t work from obligation or duty. We work because of God’s love for us. When I work for someone I love, I don’t consider it work; I think of it as love. I want to do it. I desire to do it. It gives me energy to love those who love me. That’s the difference between Jesus and religion. We work from delight, not duty.

In Gladiator, one of my favorite movies, General Maximus becomes a slave and then a gladiator after being betrayed. On one occasion in the arena, after working swiftly and skillfully to kill his opponents, Maximus throws his sword into the stands and calls out, “Are you not entertained?”

Many of us feel this way toward God. We may ask Him, “Are you not happy? Are you not pleased by all I’m doing for you?” Sometimes it can feel like we never do enough. But the good news is, He’s entertained. Not by what you do, but by you. He loves every second He gets to live in you. God smiles when He thinks of you. And since you’re always on His mind, His smile is always in your direction.

Hearing God’s Opinion
“You no longer need to wonder what I think of you. I’m so pleased with you. You make Me so happy! You don’t need to impress Me; I’m already impressed! Nothing I’ve created compares to you. I promise you this: that even in your worst moment, My pleasure in you will not change. You make Me smile, kid. I love you so much!”

"For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing." 
2 Corinthians 2:15 NIV

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