Living to Please

By Dudley Hall Published on May 10, 2015

DUDLEY HALL — “So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.” 2 Corinthians 5:9 (ESV)

“Nothing I do seems to please him,” the desperate wife exclaimed.

“When we were married I looked forward to doing things that make him happy. Now I feel like such a failure.”

She is expressing a common complaint of humanity as a whole. We are designed to please someone. We get a measure of satisfaction from pleasing someone else and it is essential to our joy. This need drives us to complex relationships as we terribly complicate our lives by adopting many people to please. It would be so much simpler if there were only one person to please and all the other people in our lives were there for us to serve. That is the hope of the gospel of Jesus. He has done all that is necessary to restore humans to the original plan of living to please God and bless others.

Ever since Adam and Eve hid behind the bush in shame, humans have been trying to find a way to please or appease God. They had been created to live life with God. They had the honor of sharing His life and fulfilling His purpose to make the earth productive. This was pleasing to Him. When the ancient serpent deceived them into trying to steal God’s honor, they lost their own and hid themselves in shame. From behind the bush they began to speculate about what would be necessary to appease or please Him. There is a sense in which all the religions of the world originated from behind the bush. They all are human speculations regarding what is necessary to properly relate to and please a god or gods.

The creator God, however, didn’t leave Adam’s race in shameful speculation. He sent His Son to reveal the delightful pleasure the Father has in the Son. The Son, as mankind’s representative, took the shame and washed men and women from their defilement by shedding His own blood. He restored the original partnership so that all who trust Him can remove the bushes and walk with Him in confident fellowship. This pleases Him.

From behind the bush there is nothing humans can do that pleases God. He doesn’t need anything we can offer. He is complete in Himself. We don’t have enough of anything to pay our debt of guilt, and we can’t cover our own shame. He was pleased to do for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves, and He is now pleased when we embrace his mercy and live as forgiven and cleansed sons.

No one can live for the pleasure of God from behind the bush. It doesn’t cover us well, and we are severely limited in what can be done. Bushes are bulky. It is time to come out and live for His pleasure. Then we can find the pleasure we were designed to have. Those who search for pleasure outside of pleasing God are on a futile search. Those who search for pleasure from pleasing themselves or others are expecting more than they can possibly receive. They are expecting incomplete and insufficient sources to do what only God can do.

On the other hand, there is nothing more satisfying than living to please Him. He delights in our trust and the activities that result from it. He is not looking for perfection in performance, but honesty in utter dependence. You can please Him today by delighting in his greatest delight, His Son. You can delight in His Son by trusting Him for everything He bought for you.

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