The Relationship Between Pleasing God and the Presence of God
Robert Wurtz II
“And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.” (John 8:29 KJV)
“So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”
(Romans 8:8 KJV)
“But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.” (1 Thessalonians 2:4 KJV)
“No man that warreth entangles himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” (2 Timothy 2:4 KJV)
I have selected these four (of several) verses from the New Testament that emphasize pleasing God. It has been said that “Man’s greatest glory is when God puts His applause on a man or woman’s life.” A person’s highest ambition ought to be to hear the word of our Lord declare to them, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.” We were created to please God. It is our destiny.
The doctrine of justification by faith seems to have nullified (or some think it has) many Christians responsibility to please God. Perhaps it is because we have placed such great emphasis on it that many Christians believe that Christ pleased God for them in their place — therefore they have no reason to please God themselves. However, the scripture clearly teaches that Christians have an obligation to please the Lord. In fact, this is the essence of Christ-like-ness, to please the Lord in all things.
“By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” (Hebrews 11:5 NKJV)
The life of faith is one that pleases the Lord. It responds rightly to what God reveals. Enoch walked with God and pleased God. These things go together. Enoch understood from early times that if one wants to walk close to God they have to live a life that is “well-pleasing” to Him. This Greek word is that of a slave pleasing his master. Enoch didn’t do his own will and walk with God. That would have been impossible. The key to understanding Enoch’s relationship with God is that he responded to God in faith in such a way that God could believe him. Later Abraham would experience a close walk with God as well when he responded rightly to God in faith. In fact, Abraham was known as “the friend of God.”
In modern times songwriters sing of being “a friend of God” and then turn around and commit adultery and divorce their wives. Enoch and Abraham never flouted God’s word and then pretended to walk with Him or be His friend. They took pleasing God seriously and their lives are left for us as a record and example to follow. There is and has always been a direct relationship between pleasing God and having a close walk with God.
When Israel obeyed God to the fullest they were always victorious. From priest to prophet — all people who were in service for the Lord were expected by God and man to live a life well-pleasing to Him. Obedience was paramount. Saul learned this the hard way. God is not interested in our burnt offerings — He is interested in our obedience. However, when sin came into the camp big problems came with it. God refused to drive their enemies out from before them. Why? Because they disobeyed Him. It was the pattern of their lives. Over time it got so bad that they were put under bondage by the Assyrians and then carried off by the Babylonians.
It may sound blasphemous, but God prefers obedience to any sacrifice… including the shed blood of our Lord Jesus. It is nonsense to think that it is better to sin and ask God to cover it with the blood of Christ than to simply obey and please God to begin with. Moreover, if there had been a way to get a man on track without Christ shedding His blood, righteousness would have come that way. Asking God for forgiveness should be an occasional matter — it should not be the response of people who try to live in sin and then walk with God.
I suggest that a great tragedy in modern times is that many Christians have no concept of their need to please God with their lives. As a consequence, they are not really walking with God. Their concern is forgiveness of sins rather than pleasing God. What happens? There is no real power in ministry. Christians are living powerless lives and trying to minister in a state of powerlessness. Moreover, they come into meetings, turn on the “heaven” feature on the keyboard, flip on the purple lights and smoke machine and sing about the glory of God. It is manufactured. Why? Because in an environment where people do not strive to please God and walk with Him — there is no way that God’s real glory can possibly be revealed.
For some reading this — it is a new concept. Others will decry legalism. Yet it ought to be common sense that priests and prophets could not have functioned in their ministry with sin in their lives. There would have been no power. Today ministers fish for information and then regurgitate that information in the form of personal prophecy to give the impression that the so-called prophet has heard from God. What really happened is that they heard some information through the grapevine and are feigning prophetic insight. And it fools even the sharpest of believers. But understand that this is not how Ahijah discerned the wife of Jeroboam. And the Lord said unto Ahijah, “Behold, the wife of Jeroboam cometh to ask a thing of thee for her son, for he is sick; thus and thus shalt thou say unto her; for it shall be, when she cometh in, that she shall feign herself to be another woman.” (1 Kings 14) He didn’t hear “through the grapevine” that she was coming and then pretend to hear from God.
In Isaiah 66:1-3 one of the qualifications for being a dwelling place of God was to tremble at God’s word. This means obeying God and walking with Him. When this is a reality in our lives God will move among us and through us. The Fire of God will be present in the ministry. Without God’s TRUE presence (and not the manufactured sort) we are preaching dead religion to people. The only way to have the presence of God is to commit ourselves to pleasing Him in all areas of our lives.