I think of Jesus, walking up the dusty hill where He would soon die, sweat beading on His forehead as exhaustion from our sins began to weigh His body down. I’m always in awe of this scene in the Bible because it is this moment, when Jesus is at His weakest and yet, it also when we find Him most committed to finishing the purpose of His life.
“for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” – Philippians 2:13 NIV
What does it mean to please God? It means, you’re like Jesus…you serve, love, and obey knowing that it is fulfilling God’s purpose in your life. The road to Jesus’ death was not easy, but He submitted to the difficult, challenging path knowing that it would please God because it was a reflection of service and love for others and obedience to God.
Have you ever hustled around the house lighting candles, icing cupcakes, and setting the table? Were you in high anticipation of your guests arriving because you wanted to “wow” them with your dinner party? Most of us as women have enthusiastically hosted countless parties. We want to be great hostesses. It’s fun (and often chaotic) to host parties for people we love and respect.
“just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:25-28 NIV
What please God is a life that sacrifices and serves others. This doesn’t always have to be a fancy dinner party. Can you serve someone by praying for them? Can you babysit their children to ensure they have some personal time? Can you serve at local domestic violence shelter? There are so many ways for us to serve others. Let’s be pleasing to God by mimicking Jesus’ heart of service for others.
Love Him and Others
The Bible is really a love story from God to us. Each book, each chapter, and each verse weaves together a tapestry of love: God’s perfect love. He is, in every way, madly in love with you and I. It’s difficult to fathom, because the love we possess as human beings is microscopic in light of God’s love. And yet, every day He wants us to sprinkle our portion of love everywhere knowing that He will fill in the gaps with His greater, stronger love. The movie “Moulin Rouge” said, “the greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return. As amazing as this quote is, Jesus said it better.
“He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” – Luke 10:27 NIV
What pleases God is a person who loves Him and others. In life, it’s so easy to keep a circle of people around us who love us deeply. I challenge you, and myself, to let love extend deeper. Let’s love those who are in pain, those who cannot offer us love back. Let’s love our neighbors, our communities, our schools, our school staff, and our government. Imagine if we let love rule…how transformative would that be!
I think it gets exceedingly more difficult to obey as you get older. Mainly because as you age, you develop your own voice, your own way of thinking and ultimately your own way of navigating the world. Obedience entails giving up our own independence for something/someone greater.
“During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered.” -Hebrews 5:7-8 NIV
What encourages me to press into difficult moments is Jesus Himself who did not escape human feelings of fear or doubt. But, being in the flesh and also the Son of God, Jesus submitted to God and obeyed Him. This is how we please God. We go all the way, all the time. In tears, we go. In faith, we go. In love, we go. In service, we go.
We please God by walking in the shadows of His son.