LifeLink Devotions (Click here for Audio Blog)
Monday, February 28, 2022
Sometimes I wonder about the strangest things. Like this morning, I wonder why we say “please” when we ask for something. Here’s what I think. The basic meaning of the word “please” is “to be agreeable; to satisfy”. I confess that the satisfaction part of the definition is more significant than the agreeable part. When I am pleased with something, I feel satisfied by it. When I take pleasure in something, it satisfies me and in some sense fulfills me. It is in that sense that we use the word “please” the most. When we make a request to another person, we are usually asking within the context of our own perceived satisfaction, and we want the other person to know that it will please us.
But we misuse the word when we think it of it only from that perspective. We cannot be truly pleased if what we ask for is not agreeable to the one we are asking. Saying please when asking for something must take into account whether or not the person we are asking will be agreeable to what we have asked and will be satisfied to grant it. “Please” is a two-way street. As parents and grandparents we have practiced this for years, but have probably never really thought about it. Kids think, as do childish adults, that saying “please” guarantees results. No matter how many times my grandchildren would say “please” when asking me for permission to play in the street, I would deny their request, because I am not in agreement with their desire and it would not satisfy me. They can say “please” all they want, but I will not be pleased to say yes. The ultimate expression and fulfillment of “please” is to be in agreement with the person being asked.
I started thinking about that today while I was evaluating how my life pleases God. I thought about God’s words to His Son Jesus when He was baptized, when He said, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” How and why did Jesus please the Father? We tend to believe that pleasing God, or people, is all based on performance. But at this point, Jesus had not yet performed anything. He simple lived in quiet, humble submission to God’s will and purpose for His life. He was a carpenter, with nothing written about His life after His birth except one event at the age of twelve where He astounded people with His wisdom. Otherwise, His life had been lived to this point in obscurity – unnoticed, unrecognized, and unappreciated. Yet God said He was pleased with Him. Pleasing God goes far beyond performance.
It’s not that performance isn’t a part of pleasing God, but it doesn’t start there. As important as doing the work of God is, pleasing God begins with God doing His work. It is only possible to do the work of God if we first let God do His work in us. What ultimately pleases God is this – when He can fulfill the work of His Son Jesus in our lives.
Ephesians 2:8-10 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
God is most pleased when we become His workmanship. Then, when He creates the life of Jesus in us, it will result in us doing good work that pleases Him. That is why God was pleased with His Son before any work had been done. Jesus was fully surrendered to whatever God’s work would be, and that was the basis of God’s pleasure.
So many people spend their lives trying to work hard to earn the approval of God. Some even waste their lives trying to earn the approval of people. But this one truth will set us free. God is pleased with me because I am His workmanship, and there is no performance that can improve my position. Performance doesn’t earn position. Performance only validates position. God is pleased with position, not performance, and our position in Christ pleases God. He is in agreement with it. He is satisfied with it. That truth has power to change your life. Insecurities will dissolve into the security of God’s approval on life because of who we are in Christ and not because of what we can or cannot do.
Will you let this truth have the same effect on you…please?