Do you have someone or something in your life that makes you wonder if anything will ever be enough? Beware! We give up when it feels like nothing is ever enough. Feelings lie! Truth is, some people are impossible to please. Sometimes the greatest impossibility is to please ourselves. Christians are especially likely to fall into the pleasing pit. The desire to obey God, do good and be kind becomes a treadmill that spins faster and faster. That is never what God intended. Jesus came to provide abundant life for us, BECAUSE we can never produce it on our own. Salvation is by faith and faith is a gift! The abundant life is ours to receive, not earn. The struggle to do the impossible wearies us. Ultimately, it destroys us. So, how do we get beyond the striving lifestyle that chokes life?
Recognition of the problem unlocks hope! The question itself is a signpost of trouble to give thanks for, because despair often sets in without a marker. We feel discouraged and blame ourselves. Without understanding, we dig deeper into a pit instead of charging in the direction we desire. Recognition that something is amiss opens the door to hope.
Blaise Pascal, an early 20th century scientist is often credited with saying, “Mankind has a God-shaped vacuum inside.” His actual quote is more eloquent but the concept is accurately conveyed. There is an empty space within us that calls for God and never settles for less. Our efforts to please others—or even ourselves—are misguided attempts to fill the vacuum with praise from others—or satisfaction with ourselves. Praise God, such efforts are inadequate; in fact, they are serious sin. When we seek to please any but God, we practice idolatry. We must turn from the idol of pleasing and live for the pleasure of God alone! Placing God on the throne of our heart—seeking to please Him alone—fills the vacuum with God Himself, the God of Hope.
With God in His rightful place—on the throne of our heart—we turn our attention to gaining knowledge about what pleases God. Hebrews 11:6 tells us that the first requirement for pleasing God is faith! The faith that pleases God is more than mental assent to His existence: even the devil believes that God exists. Faith that pleases God believes that God exists AND that He is good and rewards those who seek Him.
Pleasing God with confident faith brings fulfillment to our days. When we live out of this kind of faith, absolutely nothing can disturb our peace. It is this faith that sustains in the face of tragedy. It is this sort of faith that pens a song like “It is Well with My Soul” when all worldly possessions have been lost and two children killed. It is this kind of faith, which says, ‘…for the JOY set before him, Christ endured the Cross.’ God-pleasing, Jesus demonstrating faith is our gift to receive. It is a gift that includes every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm. We cannot out-give God but we can dedicate our lives to pleasing Him!
Scripture abounds with things that please God: searching the Scriptures, praying, loving others, obeying the commandments, giving unselfishly. None of those things makes him love us more than He does at this moment; He already loves us fully and perfectly. Doing what pleases God simply reveals our love for Him.
Is there something you do to please someone other than God? Live to make Him smile: He is worthy!