“Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him” (2 Corinthians 5:9).
WE SHOULD BE WILLING TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT BECAUSE IT’S RIGHT, BUT WE SHOULD ALSO DO IT BECAUSE IT BRINGS PLEASURE TO OUR GOD. If we perceive God to be nothing more than a tyrant who has the power to make us miserable when we get out of line, yet who remains displeased no matter how hard we try, then we have an unfortunate misconception of Him. We should rather see Him as a benevolent Father who is eager to be pleased by His sons and daughters. And we should be enthusiastically motivated by this very prospect, the prospect of pleasing Him.
The text which speaks most clearly to this point is the one in Hebrews where the faith of Enoch is mentioned: “By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, ‘and was not found, because God had taken him’; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God” (Hebrews 11:5). Here is the record of an individual who actually did what many believe is impossible to do: he pleased God. A mortal being no more infallible than we are, Enoch still pleased God. The point of the text, of course, is that it was “by faith” that he did this, and if we intend to please God, then we shall have to go about it in the same way. For sinful creatures, no other door is open to God’s pleasure. “Without faith,” the text continues, “it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
Doing the things that please God will obviously give us the sense of having done our duty, and that is no slight benefit. As someone has said, there is no pillow as soft as a clear conscience. But doing what pleases God will also fill us with pleasure. Our hearts are happiest when we want the same things God wants and when those things are granted to us by His grace. To know that our deeds have been harmonized with our Father’s will is a wonderfully refreshing feeling. It is a pity that we look for pleasure in so many of the wrong places when real pleasure is right before us. The very best kind of pleasure is available to us at every moment of every day, and that is the pleasure of pleasing God.
“The only path to pleasure is in pleasing God” (Richard Owen Roberts).