Rev Francis Ejiroghene Waive
Wherever there is love, there is the desire to please the one that is loved. In our relating with God our creator, sustainer, savior and father, love should be the underlining cord. We serve God because we love him. We worship him not out of fear but love. For everyone who truly has a relationship with God, there is that innate desire to please him. Nobody who has genuinely experienced salvation would want to deliberately offend God. But many times some are not sure what they will do to please him. Others just do what they think would please God. It also happens in our human relationships. We do what we think will please our spouse, parent, child or friend and sometimes we get it right, at other times we don’t. Hence we teach that there should be communication in relationship.
One beautiful thing about our relationship with God is that he has told us in clear terms in his word, what we can do to please him and that is the subject of this discussion. Hebrews 11;6 tells us ‘without faith, it is impossible to please God’. This scripture has a note of finality to it. No matter what else we do, if we do not believe God, we can’t please him. No wonder it says in Rom14;23 “whatsoever is not of faith is sin”. God feels insulted when we don’t believe him. Conversely, he delights in our believing him. Throughout the scriptures he always reacted sternly to unbelief among his people. In the days of Elisha, the King’s Adviser died in the stampede when the miracle that stopped the famine happened. He never believed God’s word that the economic hardship would be over the next day. In the New Testament, Zachariah went dumb until the naming of hid son John because he refused to believe God’s word that he and his wife Elizabeth were going to have a baby in their old age. To my mind, the strongest evidence of God’s reaction to unbelief is in Rev 21;8, where God listed the unbelieving among murderers as those who will not inherit his kingdom. On the other hand we see Jesus react positively whenever there is expression of faith.
Romans 8:8 says “So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God”. This again is another definitive statement. What does it mean to be in the flesh? It is to dwell in the realm of lust, carnal reasoning and operating in the senses. To be in the flesh is to be worldly, prayerless and out of tune with the move of God’s spirit. Hence we are urged not to make any provision for the flesh. The works of the flesh are clearly enumerated in Gal 6;19-21 and we are told not to walk in them as they lead to death. In order to please God, the believer must deliberately avoid the works of the flesh and walk in the spirit. This will make God happy with you.
Before proceeding further with those things that we can do to please God, permit me to veer into the benefits of pleasing God. Proverbs 16:7 tells us ‘When a man’s ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him’. Is this not what today’s church teaches her members to pray for everyday …. victory over enemies? It comes by pleasing God! The bible is full of stories of people who pleased God and how God reacted and blessed them.
Thus we are encouraged to please God and not ourselves Rom 15;1. Even our Lord Jesus spoke of doing only those things which please the father John 8;29, we should emulate the example that he has left for us. Otherwise, the results of displeasing God are well spelt out in the story of the Israelites as recapped in 1 Corinthians 10:5-6 “But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted”.
Psalms 69:30-31 ‘I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs’. We find from this scripture that expressing our praise to God in songs is something pleasing to God. No wonder, there will not be any choir practice in heaven. We are expected to have mastered praising God on this side of eternity. We find that this must be the secret of King David’s wonderful relationship with God. He is described by God as a man after his heart. Remember how he did it and the demons left King Saul. What about the encounter with Micah his wife who mocked his worshiping God without any restraint? It appears that God overlooked his many sins because he was repentant and also because he was a worshipper. Remember, he wrote most of the Psalms.
As I write this, my mind goes to the many other things we do, all in an effort to please God. You will discover that not many of them has been mentioned to so far.
Hebrews 13:16 ‘But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased’. This simple means that doing good to our fellow man, giving someone a helping hand, giving an offering in church is well pleasing to God.
Proverbs 15:8 “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight”. The prayer of the upright does not bore our God rather it pleases him.
Permit me to conclude with Ezekiel 18:23 ‘Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? says the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?’ If the salvation of the sinner so excites God. It should stimulate us to soul-winning. Luke 15:10 says “Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repents”.