The last part of our scripture for this section shows us that God was pleased by His selection,; “But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased.” Galatians 1:15. I like the picture that this brings to mind; God whose creation so often is displeasing, is pleased.
Pleasing God sounds like a great thing to do, and I wish I could do it better. But it sounds so hard, doesn’t it? What can I do to please the Creator of the entire universe? Let’s take a look at some scripture that talks about pleasing God.
Proverbs chapter 16 says, “When a man's ways are pleasing to the LORD, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him.” (verse 7). I like that. I like my enemies living at peace with me. But wouldn’t it be easier to try and please my enemies than God? I mean, He is God and all. “You know, brothers, that our visit to you was not a failure. We had previously suffered and been insulted in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in spite of strong opposition. For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts. You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else.” (1 Thessalonians 2:1-6). Ok, so Paul doesn’t think that we should try to please men but work to please God. Ok, I’m in, so give me some examples of who has done this.
“Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Then John consented. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:13-17). Ok, but come on, that was Jesus! Jesus could walk on water, turn water into wine, feed five thousand people, I can’t do any of that – anyone else ever please God?
“By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.” (Hebrews 11:5). Enoch, huh? Never heard of him. Who was he?
“When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.” (Genesis 5:21-24). Enoch pleased God so much that God just took him away. Imagine what that was like. Enoch just sitting around with his family, watching tv or something, and God just pulled him right up to heaven. How cool would it be that you lived a life that pleased God so much that He couldn’t wait to see you; that He couldn’t wait for you to die a natural death and come to heaven. That is cool.
But what did Enoch do in order for God to be so pleased with him? He walked with God 300 years. Ok, let’s take the 300 years out of the equation because I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen, what about the walking with God?
A good friend of mine and I have done a lot of things together. We’ve worked together, eaten together, studied the Bible together, but one of the main things we have done together is run. He hooked me into the idea of running a marathon, which we did, then a few half marathons, then a 202 mile run across Arizona. We have run many, many miles together. When we first started running, we didn’t know each other’s pace. We were very respectful of not going too fast or too slow. We would give each other space. We would talk and make friendly conversation. But something happens after you have spent hours beside a person; you learn their stride, you learn their moods and motivations. You also get comfortable with them and things that wouldn’t happen before happen. Bodily functions aren’t concealed as well, if you don’t want to talk, you don’t have to fill the quiet, if you elbow the other guy you don’t have to apologize, you just keep going. Together.
I think that’s what God wants from us. I think that’s what pleases God. I think He wants us to feel comfortable enough with Him that we can be by His side in all of our moods, in all of our humanness. Together.
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