“You can trust us to stick to you through thick and thin – to the bitter end. And you can trust us to keep any secret of yours – closer than you keep it yourself. But you cannot trust us to let you face trouble alone, and go off without a word.” – Merry in The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien
How can we be certain we’re pleasing God? Is there a litmus test? Maybe not, but there are exact directions. The not-so-secret method of pleasing God is written in Hebrews 11:6a,
Without faith it is impossible to please God... That statement is a double negative. So we could cancel the negatives and it would read: Faith
pleases God. When we trust God, it makes Him happy. The end. No trying required. But how is trusting different than trying? Let’s imagine Jesus asks you to take Him everywhere with you – including to work. “All right, that sounds good. But what do You want to do there?”
“Well,” Jesus responds, “you know that spreadsheet your supervisor asked you to doctor for the auditor?”
“Yeah,” you mumble.
“I want you to tell him no.”
You argue a bit – work is your livelihood – but you also want to please God. On Monday you enter your supervisor’s office and refuse to alter the spreadsheet. Security escorts you to your desk, and you pack up your things. Later, you meet with Jesus, furious.
“You told me that if I trusted You, it would all work out!”
“I never said that.” Jesus crouches down and writes something on the trail. “I said when you trust Me, you please Me.”
“What’s that?” “This? It’s a name – Abel. ‘By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did.’” (Hebrews 11:4)
Jesus continues, “Abel walked with Me too, and one day I asked him for a sacrifice. I told him his heart behind the sacrifice mattered more than what he sacrificed. Abel listened and offered a sacrifice of love. He trusted Me, but it didn’t end well. His brother murdered him.”
Faith isn’t the easiest life, but it is the best life. And as we learn to trust Him, we simultaneously please Him.
Lord, this is intimidating. Trusting You means I might lose everything but You. I’m going to need Your boldness, Your confidence – really, Your Spirit – to lead me in this way. Amen.
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