woman looking up into clouds October 19 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Luke 10:21-24; Matthew 11:25-30; Luke 10:38-11:13; Luke 11:27-12:21

Pleasing God

What pleases God? Is it the sacrifices we make, the services we perform or the good deeds we do? Is God pleased by the money we give to his work? Jesus had many things to say to unveil this mystery.

Simple Faith, Like That of a Child, Pleases God.

At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.

All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Then he turned to his disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see” (Luke 10:21-23, NIV).

In order to see what pleases God we need the eyes of faith, the faith of a little child. God is pleased with simple faith—meaning total trust in him. When we trust him this way, he is pleased to reveal more of himself to us.

Being Attentive to Christ Pleases God.

It is more important that we are attentive to Christ than it is to be busy serving but not listening to him. This is illustrated in the today's Bible story of Mary and Martha. Mary chooses to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen. Meanwhile, Martha is busy making meal preparations for Jesus and his twelve disciples. This is quite a chore. Martha thinks Mary is being lazy—she should not be sitting—there is much work to be done! She appeals to Jesus to have him speak to Mary so she will get up and help her. Since she lives in a male-dominated society, she likely thinks it's women's work to prepare the meals for company while the men talk about religion. Jesus rebukes Martha, however, telling her that Mary has made a better choice. What is more important to us—serving or listening? If Jesus were to come to our house, would we stop to visit or would we spend the entire time playing the part of the host or hostess?

But here is a news flash—we Christians already have Christ at home in our hearts through the presence of God's Holy Spirit! (Romans 8:9) God gave him to us when we were converted. We visit with him in our daily times of Bible study and prayer as we are now doing. He commends that choice we are making. But even our daily devotions can become a duty. Do we spend this time to fulfill our Christian duty or are we attentive to God's Word? Do we listen to his Word in an attitude of love and submission? In these One-Year Daily Chronological Bible Studies, the Lessons to Live By, Focus Verse(s), Prayer Response sections are included so we might apply Gods Word. We can even respond to each day’s lesson with a comment link. Using these tools encourage our attentiveness to his Word.

The Right Kind of Prayer Pleases God.

The disciples have heard Jesus pray and are impressed. At their request, Jesus gives a sample prayer to them. This is commonly referred to as “The Lord’s Prayer,” although it may be better described as the disciples' prayer. In it Jesus instructs them,

When you pray [emphasis mine], say: “Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.” (Luke 11:2-4, NIV)

Notice in the Lord’s sample prayer that God's glory is desired before anything else. Do we seek his glory when we pray or do we just tell him our feelings and give him our list of requests? Those who would please and honor God by their prayer will approach him with humility, recognizing his holiness and desiring his will to be done first of all.

Second, after God’s glory and will are sought, personal and intercessory prayers are included. We need to ask forgiveness for our daily sins (something Jesus did not need to do). One of the writers of the Psalms confesses,

If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me! (Psalm 66:18-20, NIV).

God wants to answer our prayers, so we need to be forgiving and receive forgiveness. How are we doing in this area?

The Lord also wants to meet our physical needs, so we should ask him. James, the half brother of Jesus, writes, “You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:2b-3, NIV). What do we want and why are we asking?

Third, temptation is our constant spiritual battle, so we need to ask for God's help in our prayers. We do, however, have personal responsibilities in the matter. Ephesians 6:10-18 says we need to put on the whole Christian armor to fight our temptations and Satan's attacks. But arming ourselves is not enough. We need the power or ability to fight; therefore, we need to pray (Ephesians 6:18). God is pleased when we ask him for help, and he will give us the ability to withstand temptations or flee from them.

God is Pleased When We Hear the Word of God and Obey It (Luke 11:28).

He is not impressed with our heritage; he is concerned with our character. Our character is changed as we obey the Word of God, so we become a light of truth to our world.

God is Pleased When We Give our Gifts or Service to Him with Genuine Motives.

He is not impressed with outward righteousness, how much we give to church or other charities, our position in the community, our expertise in teaching or preaching God’s Word, or our evangelism and discipleship, if our character is not good. Like washing a cup and leaving the inside dirty are those who are falsely religious. The Pharisees were consumed with the ceremonial washing of hands, utensils, and by appearing religious, but Jesus wants truth from the heart. Truth manifests itself outwardly in justice, mercy, and humility (Micah 6:8).

God is Pleased When We Give Up our Lives for Him and are not Ashamed.

God doesn't want us fearful of losing everything if we follow him. Many turn away from Christ when faced with possible sacrifices. God doesn't want us to live lives of comfort and greed and lay up treasures for ourselves. He wants us to be generous in giving both our resources and ourselves to his work.

 Lessons to Live By

  • Simple faith, like that of a child, pleases God. If any of us are not a believer, we need this to receive forgiveness, peace, and spiritual life (more...). Christians, when we trust him this way, he is pleased to reveal more of himself to us.
  • Being attentive to Christ pleases God.
  • The right kind of prayer pleases him.
  • God is pleased when we hear the Word of God and obey it.
  • He is pleased when we give our gifts or service to him with genuine motives.
  • God is pleased when we give up our lives for him and are not ashamed.

a more complete version of the prayer is recorded in Matthew 6:9-13

Focus Verse

1Thessalonians 4:1 (NIV) “Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.”

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A Look Ahead: In our Next Lesson Jesus talks about the treasures of our hearts. Join us!

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