“What do I need to do to be pleasing to God? It feels like whatever I do is never enough.” Have you ever had those kinds of thoughts? Most of us have. If you are currently in this cycle of thinking, this post is for you.
You Are A Child Of God
First of all, you have accepted Jesus into your life and you are a child of God. That feeling of never being enough? That’s not of God. He created you and he adores you. You, with all your flaws, bumps and bruises, is exactly what he wants. Father God announced (Matthew 3:17) that he was well pleased with Jesus. This was before Jesus even began his ministry! Yet, God said he was well pleased. God doesn’t sort through us and leave us hanging on the rack like he is shopping at his favorite sale. He won’t pass you by because you aren’t quite good enough. To him, you ARE enough just as you are and he couldn’t be happier with you. Never, ever forget that.
There Is No Condemnation In Christ Jesus.
Now that we have that truth out there, I’d ask you to take an honest look at your heart. You feel that no matter what you do it is never enough. Who are you really trying to please, God or man? Paul says we are not to be people pleasers.
“For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please me? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10 KJV)
I Fell Into This Trap
Shortly after getting saved, I was determined to be pleasing to God. If someone who I considered a maturing Christian suggested something, I jumped on board. For example, it was strongly suggested to make sure I spent time with God every morning. I’m a rule follower and I schedule everything about my day so I had no problem with this! They said mornings were for God so mornings it had to be! But heaven forbid one of my family members needed something and I missed my God time-slot. It ruined my whole day.
But my effort to be acceptable and worthy didn’t stop there. Remember, I was determined to be a good Christian girl and please God. Without realizing it, I put on the typically “acceptable” man-made view of being a good Christian.
My Christian Standards I Needed To Achieve To Be Acceptable
1. Having a Bible.
But not just any Bible. I had to have the “correct” Bible with passages heavily marked up to prove I was an avid Bible reader.
2. Going to Church.
We had to be there every time the doors were open. I did not want to miss a single blessing God had for us. It did not matter what else was going on in our lives, I wanted to be there!
3. Dressing up in my best.
We were told God deserves our best. The unspoken message was that our best had to be up to certain standards. We were told that we must show the world we are the sons and daughters of our King by dressing so that those observing us would realize what a blessed Christian we were (and by extension, our church was holy and prosperous).
4. Memorize scripture.
But not just memorizing it but pulling it out at a moments notice. The fastest recall wins, right? Knowing something was in the Bible was not good enough. I had to know exactly where it was and the exact words. No paraphrasing was allowed. Then I had to know who in the Bible said it and why. I had to sprinkle my conversations with scripture so that others would know that I was a “real” Christian.
Volunteering for every social service and church function I could find every week was a must. I wanted God to use me and he couldn’t do that if I wasn’t where he could use me. If I didn’t bless someone every day I just knew I failed God and my church.
6. Distancing myself from the world.
Keeping my distance from the unsaved and surrounding myself with Christianity. I was careful to only watch Christian TV and listen to Christian music. I hung out with my church friends and set aside my non-church friends. I talked to anyone I ran into about Jesus whether they wanted to hear about him or not. I had to talk the talk and walk the walk. Words like gosh, god (unless praying), OMG, luck, suck, and many other words were considered cussing and banned from speaking.
Guess what? It Was Impossible!
I did everything I could to be pleasing and acceptable to my fellow Christians. This mentality did nothing but burn me out and make me angry and resentful. I didn’t know why I was so miserable or what else I could possibly do to be acceptable. Aren’t we suppose to be people pleasers (1 Corinthians 10:24)? I didn’t know how to stop the cycle. “God, help me and show me what I am doing wrong here” became my frequent prayer. And guess what? God met me right where I was at. What changed? It wasn’t God. It was me. I was fed up with trying to please people and always failing. I thought we made God happy by making his people happy. But I was so far off the mark!
But If None Of That Impressed God How Was I Suppose To Please Him?
God started this transformation within me by giving me a major revelation. I was NOT to think like the world thinks (Romans 12:2) and seeking to please men was a worldly concept. I only needed to keep my focus on God and please HIM.
God’s way, his answer to this frustrating puzzle, was so typical. It was something so simple that we humans have made so complicated! Ready to hear what I needed to do to be pleasing to God?
I had to accept Jesus into my heart and ask him to be Lord of my life. That’s it. It’s a heart condition and not an action I needed to do. God wanted a personal relationship with me and that couldn’t start until I asked Jesus to be Lord of my life. I didn’t have to DO anything else but turn to God and seek him.
It’s Hard To Step Back And Reevaluate What We’ve Been Taught
So many people feel that they fall short and don’t deserve God’s love or attention because they fail to meet the standards set by men of what a good Christian is. When they fail (and everyone does) Satan is right there to whisper words of condemnation in their ears. He calls them unworthy and hopeless. He points out their faults to others. If Satan can use a Christian to tear another Christian down then he kills 2 birds with one stone. He loves to tear Christians down with discouragement because they couldn’t be “perfect Christians”.
But when Christians find themselves seeking approval from men by listening to the wrong voice they begin to act out in the flesh due to frustration and discouragement. It’s so easy to confuse the expectations of men with God’s voice. Men tell us the above things are required. God tells us in Isaiah 55:8 that his ways and thoughts are not ours and all have sinned and fallen short (Romans 3:23). Being perfect and not sinning isn’t what makes us people after God’s heart.
I pray you won’t stop with just accepting Jesus into your life. If you put God first with reading his word and talking with him, he will take care of the rest. He wants you to grow and be transformed. He won’t send bolts of lightning to strike your heal forcing you forward. What he will do is transform your mind from the worlds thinking to his way of thinking. Spiritual growth is a process. God doesn’t expect perfection but he does demand obedience. It all starts with accepting Jesus into your heart and being willing to live your life for Him.
The rest of that junk? It’s just junk.
In what ways have you caught yourself getting caught up in pleasing God through pleasing your fellow Christians? Comment below or send me an email. I would love to hear your story! If you are struggling with this issue right now, let me know. I would be honored to pray for you!
“Now may the God of peace, who brought again from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep with the blood of an eternal covenant, our Lord Jesus, make you complete in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:20-21 WEB)
*WEB = World English Bible
*KJV = King James Version of the Bible