Have you seen the video of the cats that ring the bells for treats (link at bottom of blog)? It’s cute, for sure, but it also makes you think about the addictive power of rewards in response to stimuli. The “Like” button on social media is the perfect example. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other, the little red number can really brighten your day…or leave you offended and hurt if the numbers aren’t quite as high as you might have expected. The Bible tells us that we shouldn’t be so worried about pleasing men. Instead, we should concern ourselves with pleasing God. But what things can we do to please God? And ultimately, how can we know when God is satisfied with our lives? God may not have a bell, but there are several indicators that can let us know when God is pleased.
What Does God Like?
In 2 Corinthians 5:9, the Bible says, “Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.” All Christians should WANT to please the Lord. In order to do that intentionally, though, we have to know specifically what the Bible says about it. Here is a list of Bible verses to help. I did my best to pick out all the ones I could find, but if you know of another one, feel free to leave it in the comments. Of course, we remember that it is not our works that save us, but it is by our works that we show our faith in God.
God is pleased with praise and sharing:
Psalm 69:30-31 “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving. This also shall please the Lord better than an ox or bull which has horns and hooves”
Hebrews 13:15-16 “Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”
God is pleased with sacrifice and study
Romans 12:1 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”
Colossians 1:10 “…that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”
God is pleased with obedience and righteousness:
1 Samuel 15:22 “And Samuel said, ‘Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of the rams.”
1 Thessalonians 4:1 “Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and please God; for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus.”
1 Chronicles 29-17 “I know also, my God that You test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of my heart I have willingly offered all these things; and now with joy I have seen Your people who are present here to offer willingly to You.”
Ephesians 5:8-10 “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.”
Romans 14:17-18 “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.”
God is pleased with faith:
Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”
Psalm 147:10-11 “He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He takes no pleasure in the legs of a man. The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy.”
God is pleased when we take care of our families:
1 Timothy 5:4-5 “But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God.”
God is pleased when we walk after the Spirit and not the flesh:
Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”
2 Timothy 2:4 “No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.”
God is pleased with love:
Mark 12:33 “And to love Him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and love his neighbor as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
Ephesians 5:1-2 “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.”
How Do We Know When God Is Pleased?
God is happy with us when our hearts are in the right place and we do those things that delight the Lord. But the Bible also gives a few outward signs that show us tangibly that He is pleased. Now, it is important to remember that God puts seasons of trials and tribulations in our lives even when (and sometimes because!) He is happy with us. Just because some or all of these signs are absent doesn’t necessarily mean that God is unhappy with us. However, these are in the Bible for a reason, and they are here for your consideration.
He hears our prayers:
1 John 3:22 “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him because we keep his commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.”
James 5:16 “…The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
We are at peace:
Proverbs 16:7 “When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.”
Zephaniah 3:17 “The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”
Psalm 127:2 “…For so He gives His beloved sleep.”
We bear fruit for Him and He takes care of us:
Psalms 1:1-3 “Blessed is the man…And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringsforth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither, and whatever he does shall prosper.”
He is with us:
John 8:29 “And He that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please Him.”
The next time you post on social media and find yourself watching for the little red numbers on the bell, ask yourself how you are doing at pleasing God. Are the indicators there? Is He “sharing” you with others through opportunities to serve Him? Our prizes in eternity remain to be seen. But we can receive benefits on earth from a God who is pleased with our spiritual progress. His presence, peace, and attention to us in our lives are worth more than any number of likes or social follows. For whether we are here on earth or with Him in eternity, ultimately, God, Himself, is our greatest reward.
Just in case you haven’t seen the cats with bells, you can find one example here: Cats Ring Bells. Like other articles that are heavy with scripture and easy to skim for quick info? Try 7 Ways to Walk in Victory. Please sign up to receive my blog in your email in-box. You can find that at the upper right of your screen (or at the bottom on a phone). Also, check out my YouTube Channel where I read the blogs out loud. I also have a playlist of hymns from my church.
Like to use this lesson in PowerPoint form for a Bible study or youth lesson? Check out my video lesson here (4th one down): Free Bible Lessons For Teens. Of course, you can email me for the PowerPoint itself and I will be happy to send it.