Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Pleasing God

The following article is by my friend Dave Price.

Its All About You

 Here is one of the most fascinating verses in the Bible to me, Hebrews 11:5, “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.” (NIV) It isn’t amazing to me that Enoch was taken straight to heaven – God is a big God, He can certainly pull off something simple like that. What is amazing to me is the part I think most people miss – that before he was taken he was commended as one who pleased God. We would probably say that the proof that Enoch was pleasing to God is the fact that he was taken, but I think it’s something more. Enoch received proof that he was pleasing to God from God Himself before the “proof” was given. You see, the more glorious thing is not that he went straight to heaven; but that before he went to heaven God gave him proof that he was pleasing to Him. The only reason given that Enoch was pleasing to God is that he believed.

I know at first blush this sound too simplistic. It sounds too simple because we are used to religion being complicated, and that’s the problem. Faith is not religion, faith is not a denomination, faith is not an order of service or a ritual – faith is a relationship. I believe my wife loves me because, and only because, we have a relationship – there is no other proof. Sure, you could say that she proves she loves me by the things she does for me, but that is an invalid argument – lots of people do things for me who don’t love me. My wife makes me coffee, but so does the coffeeshop guy down the street, and he only loves my money. My wife does my laundry (and thankfully so, for I have proved myself an idiot more than once), but the laundry down the street will do it for me too. The examples are endless – anything my wife does for me can be done by someone else, therefore the things that she does for me can’t be the proof that she loves me. They can be a testimony to the fact that she loves me, but they can’t be the proof. The proof that she loves me is the relationship we have – no one on earth knows my heart, nor wants to know my heart, more than she wants to know my heart. No one on earth wants to be with me as much as she wants to be with me.  That is relationship, and that is the proof that Enoch had that he was pleasing to God, that they had a relationship.

Every definition of faith found in the Bible is based on relationship.  A life like that of Enoch’s has God as its highest pursuit – and this is life, that God created man because He desired to have a relationship with him, that God is interested in the heart of man, that God desires to be pursued by man, and God rewards any who pursue Him with the greatest gift of life, the proof that we are pleasing to Him. Now here’s the definition of pursuit: My greatest joy in life is when my child suddenly jumps up and wrap his arms around me to tell me that he loves me, not because I told him to, not because I scheduled 3 times during the day for him to do it, not because I prescribed the exact way that I wanted it done, but simply and purely because at that moment it was the desire of his heart. (Ladies, I know I keep using the masculine here, and I have 2 daughters, so forgive me, it’s just the way I write).

God is a great and gracious Father – that was the entire message of Jesus. Over and over Jesus preached God the Father, not God the religion. Mankind has devised every conceivable way he can think of to please God entirely based on the idea that we please God by what we do; at least I think he has, but I’m sure someone will come up with another way. But God is far less concerned with what we do than with who we are. If who we are is a person who believes that God exists, who believes that He loves us and desires us, then we are pleasing to God – and that’s faith. Here’s the real mind blower – if we have faith, everything that we are is pleasing to Him. The hopes and dreams and desires of my heart for my children I understand – what I struggle with is the understanding that the full depth of those same feelings is exactly what God feels for me. The reward of faith is to see what we believe. The reward of faith is the undeniable, unshakable knowledge that we are pleasing to God just the way we are – that doesn’t mean that we abandon the pursuit of becoming better people, just that the pursuit of being better is only a product of my desire to know Him and to be known more fully.

So here’s the conclusion – and I write this because it is the one thing I am pursuing more than life itself. The definition of pleasing, as I have adapted the definition from the dictionary, is this: I want to know that I give enjoyment to God, pleasure to God, satisfaction to God. I want to know that I make God glad and contented. I want to know that I am the will and the desire of God.  I want to know that I give God great pleasure, that I delight Him, that I enchant Him, that I gladden Him, that I gratify Him, that I overjoy Him, that I tickle Him. I want to know that He enjoys me enthusiastically, and often excessively. And the only requirement to knowing is that I believe. Go figure – all I have to do to know life in all its glorious fullness is to believe God. He’s going to have to help along with this, because I struggle with it daily – but I think I’m beginning to get the picture, and what a wonderful picture it is!


1 comment:

Rich said...

I so agree with Dave's assessment of religion always making the simplicity of the good news so damn complicated.

I clearly understand that its not about religion, its all about a relationship, and yes, I've heard that since I was first saved back in 1972, you'd think after that many years it might slowly sink in.

I loved how Dave explained the differences in relationship he has with his coffee guy and the cleaners who sometimes does his clothes, verses what his wife does for him.

Is it remotely possible that one of the greatest ways we can please our heavenly Father is by us learning to be real, no additives or alternatives added.
Personally I think one of the best ways to quench or to grieve the Holy Spirit is to depreciate the fact that Father loves us just for whose and who we are!