the weblog of Alan Knox

What does it mean to please God?

Posted by on Jul 20, 2012 in discipleship | 5 comments

What does it mean to please God?

God loves us. That’s clear from Scripture. We cannot do anything to change God’s love for us.

In Christ, we are righteous and holy. That is clear as well. We cannot do anything to make ourselves more righteous or more holy.

So, what does it mean for something to be pleasing to God?

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here are a few passages of Scripture to consider:

Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to live and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. (1 Thessalonians 4:1 ESV)

Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. (Hebrews 13:15-16 ESV)

Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. (1 John 3:21-22 ESV)

There are many other passages that talking about pleasing (or not pleasing) God. And, these passages are written to people who are saved, who are in Christ, who are children of God, who are indwelled by the Holy Spirit.

What does it mean for them (and for us) to please God?


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  1. 7-20-2012

    My first stab at this would be to say that although we are loved, righteous and holy, those wonderful gifts do not (of themselves) cause us to love him.

    It’s our love towards him and the obedience that results from it that pleases him. Some of his commands are clear and fixed, to make disciples, to love one another, to encourage one another. Others are given to us by the Spirit as we live our lives day by day, we have the opportunity to say what we hear him say and do what we see him do – or not.

    Like any parent he is pleased by our obedience and by our attention to what he shows us, and also by our love. How a Mum’s heart is melted when a child brings a flower, even a daisy picked from the turf. How a Dad’s heart is touched when a teenager washes the car or weeds the garden.

    How do I please him? Do the things I know he delights in! Whatever I can do to show my love for him; let me do it today!

  2. 7-20-2012


    Briefly: BEING rather than DOING!

  3. 7-21-2012

    Because we are already pleasing to God (in Christ) we want to do things that please Him.

  4. 7-23-2012

    The words of CS Lewis in Mere Christianity spring to mind-
    “As a great Christian writer (George MacDonald) pointed out, every father is pleased at the baby’s first attempt to walk: no father would be satisfied with anything less than a firm, free, manly walk in a grown-up son. In the same way, he said, ‘God is easy to please, but hard to satisfy.'”.

    I think that’s true- ultimately our own righteousness can never satisfy God but when we believe in Jesus his sacrifice does that for us for good. However God still delights in every small move we decide to make towards Him as His children.

  5. 7-23-2012


    Yes, I think the ideas of pleasing God and God delighting in certain things are related, perhaps even synonymous. This means, of course, that God is not pleased with (does not delight in) everything and anything, even though he loves us in spite of everything and anything.

    Aussie John,

    How does being and doing relate to pleasing God? I think I understand what you’re saying, but I want to make sure I understand.


    What does it mean when we do things that do not please God? We are still in Christ, right?


    God delights in every small move that we make towards him… I like that. But which moves are toward him?