Sunday, December 08, 2013

How do I please God? A Reflection on Hebrews 11:6

My Son-in-law and Granddaughter. A pleased father.
I believe at some time in our lives we wonder, "How do I please God?" We have metrics for pleasing our employer and teachers, and we have learned through experience how to please our parents, friends and family members. We know these things, and we choose to please them through meeting their expectations or not. 

But, you may ask one day, "How do I please God? What are the expectations of that relationship, and how can I choose to meet them?" 

I returned to a familiar passage of Scripture this morning, and I was reminded the answer to our deep longing to please God.

At the beginning of a  lengthy passage to encourage his readers to be strong in their faith as they face trials and doubt, the writer to the Hebrews wrote this:
Without trust it is impossible to please God. It is necessary that the one drawing near to God trust God exists and that God is a 'rewarder' to those who seek Him. (Heb. 11:6, my translation)
How do you please God? 
 
1. Trust God exists, and 
2. Trust God responds as someone who rewards you if you seek Him.  

Trust is key to pleasing God. (That is what the entire chapter of Hebrews 11 is about.) We talk about worship or putting God first in our lives as the key to our relationship with God, but if you do not trust God exists or that God responds to you, how can you show worth-ship to Him? 

For me, to trust Father-Son-Spirit with my life--like trusting a mountain guide on a climb I cannot complete on my own--I must first trust God exists. That sounds easy, but there is a difference between trust and belief. It's like the difference between trusting my father and only believing my father.

Can I say I trust my father if I only believe he exists (I know he lives in East Texas with my mother.), but I never call, go see, or ask anything of him? No, I acknowledge and live out my trust in him by talking to him, going to see him, doing chores on the farm with him, and asking him advice and for things I may need. I can never have a deep relationship with him unless I trust that he is there for me and that he will respond if I seek a relationship with him or ask him for something

I can believe things about my father (and God) all day long, but until I act as though he will respond, I do not trust him

The concept of a "rewarder" may seem like God is the jolly, old gift giver in the sky, but that is not the word picture here. The sentence before our verse 6 tells that Enoch "was commended as having pleased God." (Heb. 11:5; ESV) Enoch was praised as having pleased God, and the proof of that trust was that he did not experience death. To please God is to trust it is beneficial for me to seek God.

My father is pleased when I say and show I trust him. He is pleased when I announce we are coming to see them or that I need his advice. As a father myself, I am pleased when my daughters trust me enough to call me or to call upon me, or, desire to do things with me like in the picture of my Son-in-law and granddaughter above. Graham looks pleased to me!

So, how do you please God? Trust God is there for you, and that God will respond to you as one who rewards you if you seek God's help or friendship. 

Like a loving father, God is pleased when you move beyond believing in him and actually trusting him with your life through words and actions.

Why not try moving beyond believing in God to trusting God today? God will be pleased, I know.

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