Monday, February 6, 2012

Pleasing the Lord

I admit it - this past week in particular, I have been extremely pleased with my oldest child. My child has worked hard to accomplish something and it is now being rewarded (to protect my child's privacy, I will remain non-specific). This reward brings pure joy to my child's heart and I'm bursting with pride and excitement.

Now I wonder if the Lord is pleased with His children like a parent is with their own child? I'm sure He did with Christ - remember what He said as the Holy Spirit descended upon Christ during his baptism - "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17; NIV)? In the past, whether due to lack of spiritual maturity or faulty teachings, I viewed God as looking down on me, constantly condemning me for the sin in my life. I felt as if He was pointing His finger down at me saying "You should have done this," or "you could have done that better." I didn't feel as if He was pleased with me.  

I have since learned this is not completely true. To begin with, the Lord knows I'm not perfect, which is why He sent His Son to die for me. And He didn't stop with the sacrifice of Christ. He then sent His Holy Spirit - our helper to guide us through this life. There are also scriptures explaining how we can please God, our Father in Heaven. Romans 12:1 says "Therefore I urge you brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God - this your true and proper worship" (NIV).

Need another example? Romans 14:17-18 says "For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God..."(NIV).

Finally, one more verse - this is from 1 Chronicles 29:17 - "I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity..."(NIV).

So, it seems to me that living a righteous life - full of integrity and sacrifice pleases the Lord. And even when I do mess up, He is there to pick me up and give me another chance - because that is what a merciful, gracious and loving Father does. Knowing this frees me. I can now come to the Lord with a heart of worship, not one of fear. Though we are to fear the Lord, I want my worship to stem from true gratitude, not through forced motivation. My relationship with the Lord has grown because my heart and soul delight in the Lord, just as my child delights in her reward.