Column: Pleasing to God


The possibilities are endless for what God has given human beings the freedom to create or destroy, to nurture or suffocate, to worship or revile.

Mustering the discernment to figure out what is pleasing to God on a consistent basis is a tricky business.  It also involves accepting that our most important personal and societal organizing principle should in fact be what is pleasing to God.

Do we really understand that God created us in His image in freedom and love?  Reading the Bible end to end, I don’t know how anyone could come to any other conclusion.  Plenty of folks reject the Bible, shun church, don’t like Christians, spurn religion in general and pursue their own self-focused agendas.  Jesus isn’t for them, God is a lie, and the Holy Spirit a myth.

“I gotta’ be me,” say the doubters, and that’s all the “truth” they need.

That’s just not a good plan.

It’s not a good plan because it lacks precisely the two things Jesus tells us to do: love God and love others.  Love doesn’t mean “I get my own way.”  Love means doing the right thing by God, and that usually cancels out our own worldly, comfort-led and fear-averse priorities in favor of serving others, recognizing Jesus as the Christ, and thereby glorifying God.  That’s a good plan.  But how?

First, realize that God basically does only two things: He creates, and He redeems.  He makes things live, and he fixes things that are broken.  Yet so often the things we think are broken are actually signs of humans going against what God created in order that we could live.  Look at the segment of our culture that is just so angry about laws ensuring religious freedom, when the larger shame is that humanity needs any such laws in the first place.

Second, consider what you could, should and would do.  “What could I do?” is about freedom, a creative gift of God.  “What should I do?” is about morals, our marching orders from God.  “What would I do?” is about character, and the choices we make before God.

Third, learn to tell what’s of God and what’s of Satan.  An easy “tell” that the Holy Spirit is with you is when you feel peace in your heart; two warning signs of Satan are anger and fear.  Yes, I can be at peace in my ignorance and angry at unholy things, but mercy and love must guide my actions.  Prayer is a great revealer of holy truth.

What pleases God?  I’m not always sure, but I do know it is important to ask.

Walters ( advises praising God and blaming Satan. Lots of people get that backwards.