Many of us grew up as people pleasers. We tried to please our parents. But the frustration seemed to always be that we were never good enough. The harder we tried, the harder it became to please them. Some of us just gave up trying.
We have a tendency, then, to transfer this same behavior over to our relationship with the Lord. We want to please him, but it seems that we are never good enough. And so we live a good bit of our time with the Lord in frustration.
This sermon should help us get over the frustration that we often feel as “people pleasers” in our relationship with God.
When Jesus was on earth, his Father said, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased,” [Matt 3:17; Matt 17:5]. Jesus heard a public commendation from his Father that God was pleased with him. What a blessing that would be to hear God commend you, as his child, with the words “in whom I am well pleased.”
So confident was Jesus in his ability to please his Father, that he said, in Jn 8:29, “I do always those things that please him.” What assurance he had. God was pleased and Jesus knew that he was pleased.
Do you realize that we can do things which will please God, and we can know it? Lord, I want to put a smile on your face and know you’re smiling. Wouldn’t you like God to have the kind of joy you know a parent has when the kids are doing well? Here are a few examples of things you can do with the full assurance that God is pleased.
Preaching the gospel pleases God – 1 Cor 1:21; 1 Thes 2:4 – when you and I preach the gospel the way that God wants his gospel preached, he is pleased. You don’t want to sugar coat the gospel or water it down like modern preaching. You want to preach it the way that God wrote it. Some men will not like the way you preach, but God will be pleased. And you can lay your head on your pillow at night and know that God is pleased.
Walking by faith pleases God – Col 1:10; Heb 11:5-6 – when we walk worthy of the Lord like Enoch walked with God, we know that God is pleased. You don’t start the day with your devotions and then walk off and leave God at home. You walk with him through the entire day. And you walk by faith. God is pleased with us when we walk with him by faith.
Being fruitful in every good work pleases God – Col 1:10; Heb 13:21 – when you and I were saved, Jesus took up residence inside of us. And just as he pleased his Father when he was here in his own body, so he desires to please his Father while he is here in our bodies. Jesus always pleased God; and he will please God in you. Isn’t that good to know?
Increasing in the knowledge of God pleases God – Col 1:10 – God is very pleased when he knows that you want to know him better. As you dedicate yourself to increasing in the knowledge of God, God sees your desire and, in essence, says, “Look at that; they want to know more about me.”
Obeying your parents pleases God – Col 3:20 – children, you should obey your parents just so you can know you have done something that really pleases God. When they want you to do something that you don’t want to do and when they don’t want you to do something that you do want to do, you should just obey them anyway. You can look up and say, “I just put a smile on God’s face.” If you are a “people pleaser” there won’t be any doubt that you just pleased God.
Praising God [Ps 69:30-31], doing good and communicating (giving) please God – Heb 13:15-16 – when you sing to the Lord, whether by yourself or with others at church, you are pleasing God, He said so. When you do good, you are pleasing God. He said so. Your offerings to help orphans, your work on missions trips, your help to each other, and so forth are good things to do. God said that doing good pleases him. When you make your offering to the Lord, you can put it in the basket with a smile on your face knowing that you have just done something that pleases God. He said so.
Conclusion: don’t keep beating yourself up because you aren’t good enough or you aren’t doing enough. Do the things that you know please God and be content that you know he is pleased. He doesn’t have to call out from heaven and say, “You are my beloved son in whom I a well pleased.” He wrote it down in his Book for all the world to see and expects you and I to believe that he is, indeed, well pleased.