What Pleases God?

Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. 17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever. – 1 John 2:15-17

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An image from my 2016 Portfolio “Unsung Heroes: A Visual Parable” These images remind us that just as many things are working behind the scenes, and without our notice, so God is holding all things together through the word of his power. We often take his presence and protection for granted.

In the movie, Martin Luther: Heretic (A BBC film from 1987), Luther is depicted teaching his students about God’s grace. There is nothing we do to earn it, or deserve it, but God simply and fully forgives us for Jesus’ sake. The students struggle with this idea, and one asks, “You mean I can do whatever I please? I can sin all I want…” Luther answers, “Yes. And what pleases you? So what do you do? Drink yourself senseless? Make faces at the Duke? Spend the rest of the week in a whorehouse?” (You can watch the scene here – as well as the rest of the movie.)

The question remains, however: what pleases God? How do I please him. The answer lies in faith: believing in God; believing that he is good; believing that he is true to his word; believing that although we do not deserve to receive his blessings he grants them to us for the sake of Jesus. When we believe in God and acknowledge his faithfulness, righteousness, love and mercy, we please God. It’s that simple. It’s not just what we do, but how we view God, how we acknowledge who he is and all that he has done for us in Jesus that pleases him.

The world can never offer true eternal goodness, grace and blessing. Its gifts are fleeting and never truly satisfy. But the favor God offers is pure, holy, true, and deeply and eternally satisfying for all who believe in him.

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