What Does It Take To Make God Happy? 5 Ways To Please God
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Have you ever stopped to contemplate what it means to be a woman after God’s own heart? To please God? Have you wondered how to make God happy?
I have. I’m a bit of a people-pleaser, if we’re being totally transparent.
I may march to the beat of my own drum and refuse to conform to fit in with the crowd, but I really like to make the people I love the most happy. And that includes God.
It took me by surprise to read 1 Kings 9:4 in my devotions this morning. God promised Solomon that his throne would be established forever if he lived like his father (King David) “with integrity of heart and uprightness.“
David lusted after a married woman, took her into his castle and made her his own, covered it up, and then had her husband murdered in a war so that he wouldn’t know she was pregnant by another man.
But he had integrity of heart? Walked uprightly? Obviously, I’m kind of missing something.
Maybe it’s not about what he did. Maybe it’s more about who he was.
After all, David was declared by God to be a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam 13:14, Acts 13:22). David knew how to make God happy.
What does that mean for you and me? Can we learn how to make God happy, too?
Not only can we please our Father, but we ought to want to. 2 Corinthians 5:9 says that we make it our goal to please Him!
You Can’t Earn Salvation
Before we go any further, it’s really important to lay out some Biblical truth about salvation. You cannot ever earn salvation by your works.
None of us can ever be good enough to earn an eternity in heaven. Salvation is not something we do; it’s something we receive as a gift.
Learning how to make God happy and doing those things? It’s a gift we give God, born out of love and gratitude. It is not a way to earn salvation.
Romans 3:20-23 reminds us that every single person is a sinner and falls short of God’s standards. Romans 6:23 lets us know that that the only thing our [sinful] actions earn is death. Sounds bleak and despairing, doesn’t it?
But there is hope! Ephesians 2:4-5 lets us know that that isn’t the end of the story. God’s mercy and love pulled us out of death and into life, by the gift of salvation that we receive through faith by His grace, not our works so that none of us can boast in them.
It’s got nothing to do with us, and everything to do with Him.
And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.1 Jn 5:11-12, ESV
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.Jn 11:25, ESV
So that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.Rom 5:21, ESV
For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.Jn 6:40, ESV
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.Jn 3:16, ESV
But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.1 Tim 1:16, ESV
Let’s recap what Scripture says about us and God:
- We are all wretched sinners
- The only thing our actions earn us is death
- God’s mercy and love is so great that He pulls us out of death into life
- He does this by the finished work of Christ on the cross
- When we believe in Jesus, we have salvation and eternal life
So is it even possible to please Him? Is there a book somewhere that tells us how to make God happy?
Related: Check out this discussion between Tim Keller and John Piper about this issue
Yes, You Can Make God Happy
The Bible tells us exactly what we need to know! Did you know the Bible tells us how to make God happy and live a life that pleases Him?
I didn’t really ever think much about it in those terms until I started researching how David could possibly have been a man after God’s own heart with all of his epic failures and obviously selfish choices.
But sure enough, the Bible tells us it’s possible.
Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more.1 Thess 4:1, ESV
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.Hebrews 11:6, ESV
But the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.Psalm 147:11, ESV
So we can deduce that we can walk in a way that pleases God and that way is by obeying Him, drawing near to Him through our belief in Him, honoring (fearing) Him, and putting our hope in Him and not our own strength.
What does that look like when we walk it out? What does my life look like when I can answer the question of how to make God happy?
How to Make God Happy
We make God happy when we obey Him.
We can follow David’s example by praying for understanding when we read the Word so that we can do what it says. Very simply put, we are children who obey our Father. If God directs us to it in the Word, we should walk it out in our day to day life.
Give me understanding, that I may keep your law and observe it with my whole heart. (Ps 119:34, ESV) Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice.1 Sam 15:22
We make God happy when we repent from our sins with a heart that is humble.
We can follow David and be a woman after God’s own heart by being truly sorry when we sin.
Instead of pushing sin to the side and excusing it (“I was really tired” or “The kids have been so awful today I just couldn’t stop myself from yelling” or “It’s really not that big a deal”…), we should recognize it for what it is and our hearts should grieve it.
For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.Ps 51:16-17
For your name’s sake, O Lord, pardon my guilt, for it is great.Ps 25:11
We make God happy when we draw near to Him.
Drawing near to God is a precious thing. We need to intentionally cry out to Him, come close to Him, and let Him overwhelm us.
When we do this, we will build our belief that He hears us (how can He answer our cries when we do not call out?) and that He keeps His promises (how can we know He keeps His Word if we do not read it and pray for Him to accomplish it?).
Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple! (Ps 65:4)
The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. (Ps 145:18)Ps 65:4
The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.Ps 145:18
We make God happy when we honor Him.
Too often we remember the verses about being God’s friend and approaching Him boldly, but forget that we also need to revere Him. We forget what an awesome and holy God He is.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!Ps 111:10
Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love.Ps 33:18
The other thing to be mindful of is not treating God like a genie in a bottle; He is not there to constantly grant our wishes but rather to have a relationship with us.
We make God happy when we put our hope and trust in Him.
It’s really easy to do things in our own strength and rely on our own wits. We might not even realize we do it. But David shows us how important it is to trust God; a woman after God’s own heart puts her trust in the Lord.
In you, LORD my God, I put my trust. (Ps 25:1) Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie!Ps 40:4
May you be blessed and encouraged as you rest in His grace, knowing you cannot earn your salvation but you can bring Him delight.
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