â€œWherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.â€ (2 Corinthians 5:9)
In this verse, Paul expresses the strong desire to be â€œpleasing toâ€ (the idea behind â€œaccepted ofâ€) the Lord Jesus Christ. It should likewise be our own ambitionâ€”whatever we do and wherever we areâ€”to please Him. This, of course, will make a difference in what we do and where we go!
The Scriptures give us a number of specific ways in which we can be confident of pleasing Him. For example: â€œWe then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselvesâ€ (Romans 15:1). That is, our criterion should be pleasing Himâ€”not ourselves. Similarly, we are warned that â€œthey that are in the flesh cannot please Godâ€ (Romans 8:8). That is, our thoughts and deeds must not be governed by worldly considerations.
By suffering, willingly, for His sake, we can please Him. â€œIf, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable [â€˜well-pleasingâ€™] with Godâ€ (1 Peter 2:20).
â€œWithout faith it is impossible to please himâ€ (Hebrews 11:6). We must walk by faith if we would please the Lord. This is not faith in the abstract, but specific truthâ€”faith to believe the revealed Word of God and to act on that faith.
God is pleased with generosity. â€œBut to do good and to communicate [to share what we have with others, for His sake] forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleasedâ€ (Hebrews 13:16). This certainly includes sharing the gospel, as well as our material possessions. â€œBut as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but Godâ€ (1 Thessalonians 2:4).
Finally, when our ways please the Lord, we have this gracious promise: â€œWhatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sightâ€ (1 John 3:22). HMM