“What Pleases God?”
How would you answer that question? Some might respond with, “God is pleased when we go to church, love our family and help others.” I suppose I should throw in, “He is pleased because I’m a really nice person!” Maybe this is a longshot, but I want to believe MOST people want to please God. The problem is many believe they please Him by what they do. God isn’t pleased by what we do, He’s pleased with WHO WE ARE. When our heart is right, we’ll do right things. A large percentage of people in the United States claim to be Christians or at the very least, a “religious” or “spiritual” person. When I write articles like this, they always come off as being judgmental, and I really am not, nor do I want to be. It seems however, that there would be a lot less hatred, violence, prejudice, racial tension, and vengeance IF, the majority of the people were “spiritual.” So, back to the topic, “What pleases God?”
Psalm 51:17 says, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” One of my favorite comedians of the past is Red Skelton. There’s a story about him being on a plane that developed engine problems while flying over some mountain peaks. As you’d guess, people were afraid, screaming, crying, and wanting to be anywhere, but in the air at that time. Mr. Skelton tried to calm the passengers with jokes and eventually the plane was able to make an emergency landing. Once on the ground, Skelton told the passengers, “Now you can all go back to the sin you turned away from a few minutes ago.” Maybe you have prayed such a prayer which included, “God, if You get me out of this, I’ll serve you forever,” or “I’ll never do that again!”
Those prayers are a shallow “repentance” which is nothing more than a regret over possible consequences. Godly repentance on the other hand is an absolute, “About face!” It’s a 90 degree turn as you are now headed in the exact opposite direction in which you were previously headed. True repentance comes when our hearts are broken over our sin rather than being merely anxious about the outcome. God is pleased when we come to Him with a broken and contrite heart. Outward actions will NEVER please God, no matter how good, IF your inward heart attitude is not right. It’s when you humbly approach God with a broken heart and spirit, confessing your sins with a deep desire to never do them again is what brings joy to the Lord. When you want Christ in your life more than sin, that’s when His promise becomes personal, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from unrighteousness” (I Jon 1:9). Not only does that type of prayer please God, it’s also lifechanging for the person saying the prayer.