If I think that my service to God has to be perfect for God to be pleased, (as I often un-biblically do), then I am defeated before I begin. Why would I even try to please God if everything I do is a disappointment?
At Redeemer, as well as at other like-minded churches inside and outside our denomination, I talk to many people who feel that God is constantly disappointed with them. I think if they were honest, they would admit to feeling that God is a demanding killjoy who cannot be pleased.
A.W. Tozer wrote about this sadly common view of God in an essay entitled, “God is Easy to Live With”:
“From a failure properly to understand God comes a world of unhappiness among good Christians even today. The Christian life is thought to be glum, unrelieved cross-carrying under the eye of a stern Father who expects much and excuses nothing. He is austere, peevish, highly temperamental and extremely hard to please.”
If we feel this way about God, then it’s no great wonder why we struggle to find peace and joy in life! It’s also no mystery why we struggle to share the love of God with others. Who wants to say to a friend or loved one, “come find out how much God disapproves of you and always will?” No one would ever say that, but if we subconsciously think that we can never please God then we may not want to spread that burden to others.
However, this stern, killjoy God is not the God of the Bible. God is not capricious or a slave driver; he loves to free people from slavery. God is not supersensitive and given to fits of rage; he is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. (Exodus 34:6)
Kevin DeYoung, asks,
“What sort of father looks at his daughter’s homemade birthday card and complains that the color scheme is all wrong? What kind of mother says to her son, after he gladly cleaned the garage but put the paint cans on the wrong shelf, ‘This is worthless in my sight’?” Sometimes our earthly, sinful, parents are unduly harsh, but not our heavenly Father who loves, cares for, and even delights in us simply because we are his children by faith in Jesus.
God is good, and our good deeds done in love for him who has rescued us are precious in his sight. To the degree we grow in our understanding of God’s pleasure in us, our desire to please him by seeking his kingdom first on earth will also grow, and peace and joy are likely to come along for the ride.
Our Meager Offerings Please God
Pastor Bryan Chapel tells a story about a young boy whose grandparents kept him while his parents worked before the job market led his parents to move across the country. Sometime later, neighbors of the grandparents ran into the boy in a large discount store while on vacation in the boy’s new town. The grandson fished in his pocket for something to give his grandparents, and all he could find was a little piece of lint. “Would you give this to my grandma?” he asked. The neighbor took the lint but discarded it before reporting back to his grandma about the “silly gift.” The grandmother told her neighbor, “I wish you had not thrown it away. I would have been so pleased to get it because it was all he had to give me.” As this boy grows up and recognizes that his grandmother was pleased to have a piece of lint given in love as a gift to her, imagine how much more he will want to please her!
Pastor Chapel comments that when we know that our meager offerings to God, which is all we have to give – our little thoughts, words, and acts of righteousness – bring God pleasure despite their inadequacies and our shame, we will want to give God better gifts. When we recognize how delightfully pleased God is with us because we are his children, then pleasing him becomes our passion, our power, and our strongest motivation.
Thanks to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, we are delightfully pleasing children of God.
In a world full of anger and anxiety, may we live for the smile of our loving Father who is not difficult to please even when it is hard for us to believe.
 The Root of the Righteous. Christian Publications. 1955
 Hole in our Holiness: Filling the Gap Between Gospel Passion and the Pursuit of Godliness. Crossway; 2014. 70.
 Ephesians. Bryan Chapel. P & R Publishing: 2009. 253-254.