How do I please God?
I’ve been thinking about this a fair bit recently; it is a theme which has popped up in many different places. Am I doing the right things? How do we know that God is pleased with what we do?
But we see in God’s word that these are the wrong questions.
Because pleasing God is not so much about what we do, as why we do it. It is less about specific actions and more about our heart attitude.
First up, we have God’s love and approval already. If your faith is in Christ then you have been saved and stand right before God- and doing ‘good’ things won’t change that.
Rather, we are called to do what is right as a response to that, out of gratitude and obedience. Because we know that God is all we need, and that the more we know God the more truly content we will be.
As we read in Psalm 84 last week, “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” We follow God, because we desire God and want to know him more fully. We seek after God not to earn his blessings- he already gives those freely. We seek for God because he is God, and to spend time with God is the best thing we can do.
It is so easy to slowly slip into a ‘tick the box’ mentality of trying to do ‘good’ things thinking they please God. We can go to church, serve, give, act kindly- all the while focused on those actions themselves, as if just doing them makes God happy.
So, don’t let the question be ‘Am I doing the right things to please God?’.
Rather, ask yourself, ‘Why am I doing these things? Am I motivated by a desire for God? Or am I just trying to tick enough boxes?’.
Because the point is not to accomplish a set list of good deeds. The point is to be giving our whole selves to God, because He is all we want. And when that is our motivation, the good works will naturally flow from that.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
- Romans 12:1