Pleasing the Lord

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.

Ephesians 5:10

As I reflect on this passage from Ephesians, I find myself more and more impressed by something I might easily have taken for granted. Verse 10 says that we are to "find out what pleases the Lord." This verse assumes that we have the capacity to please God. Or, to put it differently, God has the capacity to take pleasure in us.

Do you realize that you can give God pleasure? The God who created the universe, who spread out the Milky Way with a flick of his hand, the God who formed the Grand Canyon and the Himalayan Mountains, the God who invented music and the ability to enjoy it, the God who delights in goodness and holiness, this same God can take pleasure in you. Do you believe this? Do you live as if it is true?

If you're like me, you find it more natural to think in terms of not displeasing God. You know that your sin grieves the Lord, so you seek to avoid sinning. You don't want God to be unhappy, especially when it comes to you. It isn't wrong to try not to displease the Lord, but it is an inadequate motivation for our actions.

You might also be wired to seek to do what's right simply because it's right. You have been raised with a deep sense that you should always choose to do the right thing. Of course, as a sinner you fall short of this standard. But, even after you have received God's grace through Christ, you are motivated by a strong inclination to do what's right. Being motivated by righteousness isn't wrong, but it is also inadequate.

A more complete and sublime motivation for right living takes seriously the good news of Ephesians 5:10. You have the ability to please the Lord. By what you do and say, by how you live, you can delight the heart of God. I would suggest that the more you reflect on this amazing truth, the more you will be drawn to do that which pleases God.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Do you think of yourself as having the capacity to please God? Why or why not? As you go about the business of your day, do you ever think that your actions can please the Lord? If you were to think this way more consistently, how might your life be different at work? At home? In your community? In your times of rest?

PRAYER: Gracious God, I must confess that the thought of pleasing you boggles my mind. I'm very familiar with the desire not to displease you. And I often think in terms of honoring you. But the notion of giving you pleasure is not a familiar one. It seems arrogant to say that I can please the God of the universe. Who am I, after all? Yet, your Word is clear. You have given me the capacity to please you. You have chosen to let my behavior matter to you. How amazing!

O Lord, help me to embrace this thought, to consider the opportunity I have to please you. Stir up in me a longing to give you pleasure through every word, every deed, every thought, every desire. May I please you when at work and at rest, with my friends and my family, in my striving and my dreaming, in all that I do. To you be all the glory. . .and the pleasure! Amen.

Leadership Influence: Beyond the Stereotype

When we think of “leadership” or “influence,” we often get the image of a person of arrogant swagger, always self-confidently willing to tell people what they ought to do. And we naturally find such an image unseemly. This is not the image of Jesus, the most influential person who walked the planet. Neither is it the image of those we truly admire and can name were the most influential people in our own lives. In this week's series at The High Calling, Leadership Influence: Beyond the Stereotype, we feature stories of how people can be influential in ways that really matter.

Featured image above by Jhong Dizon. Used with Permission. Via Flickr.