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“God is easy to please and hard to satisfy.”
I have a new supervisor at work. My former boss was a friend. I knew her well. I knew what was most important to her and that helped me to do my job well. But I’m not so sure of the priorities and requirements of my new supervisor. Honestly, I’m faltering.
Thankfully, this is not true of my relationship with my ultimate Boss. It is not a befuddling maze of new directives and procedures and protocols and forms. I am not left wondering how to please the Lord. I know what makes God happy.
You can too. It is not out of reach.
He Has Shown You What Is Good
Because God has told us.He spells it out brilliantly in Micah 6:8 (Berean Standard Bible):
“He has shown you, O man, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To do justly and to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God.”
The setting for these words is a colorful courtroom scene where God brings his people Israel to the witness stand. In Micah 6:3, God asks them, “What have I done to you?” Then he answers his own question. He had only done them good.
Yet Israel had repaid him with rejection and rebellion.
But instead of repenting, when their sin is brought to light, Israel does what so many of us do when we’re guilty and we know it. They got all dramatic. You can hear it, almost sass, in Micah 6:7 (ESV):
“Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams,
Ten thousand rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”
It was as if they were trying to back Almighty God, the righteous Judge of all the earth in a corner and accuse him. “You are unreasonable. You ask too much. Will that finally make you happy?”
But God won’t have it.
Do Justly, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly
“Calm down,” he says. “What I want from you is no mystery. I have shown you clearly what pleases me. Do justly, love kindness and walk humbly with me. Forget about all your sacrifices, all your thousands of rams and the rivers of oil. That is not what I want.”
Even though Micah wrote those words over 2,500 years ago, God never changes (Malachi 3:6). That means that God is still pleased when we do justly, love mercy—not to merely extend mercy, but to love to extend mercy—and walk humbly with him.
But that’s not all. Scripture is peppered with clear statements about what we, God’s born-again, dearly-loved children, can do in this life to delight our heavenly Father’s heart.
7 Ways You Can Please God
Here are some of the ways.
- Sharing with others pleases God. (Hebrews 13:16)
- Bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God pleases God. (Colossians 1:10)
- Presenting your body as a living sacrifice pleases God. (Romans 12:1)
- Teaching the word in truth pleases God. (1 Thessalonians 2:4)
- Praying for your governing authorities pleases God. (1 Timothy 2:1-3)
- Supporting family members in need pleases God. (1 Timothy 5:4)
- Keeping the commandments pleases God. (1 John 3:22)
Isn’t this great news? God has shown us what is good. We the creatures can make our Creator’s heart glad. He has made it crystal clear what pleases him. We don’t have to guess. We’re not left in the dark.
He is easy to please.
Easy to Please, But Hard to Satisfy
But God is also hard to satisfy.
By that, I think George MacDonald meant that God wants us to keep growing up into Jesus (Ephesians 4:15). Like an earthly father who is pleased with his toddler’s first wobbly steps, God is pleased with our efforts to follow Jesus. But that doesn’t mean he’s satisfied. He expects us to keep growing up. He wants us to walk in freedom, with steadiness and stamina.
“Satisfied” means that the benchmark has been met. And the expectation is that we will grow more and more like Jesus (Romans 8:29) until the day we see him face to face.
In the meantime, let’s rejoice that he has made it so clear. It is no mystery. If you are his child, and his Spirit is in you, God is easy to please.
How will you delight the Father’s heart today?
Find out what pleases the Lord.
—Ephesians 5:10 (NIV)