2 CO 5.9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.
Growing up Catholic I rarely felt pleasing to God. As an altar boy I’d try to keep my back rigid and my praying hands perfectly aligned, fingers straight out, thumbs crossed over each other with military precision. I’d try to say each word of every “Hail Mary” with complete earnestness (try doing that 50 times in a rosary) yet still didn’t feel pleasing to God. And when I hit my rebellious teens and roaring twenties, my depraved lifestyle left me feeling about as pleasing to God as a warthog.
Then God made it possible for this warthog to please him. He washed away my sins with Christ’s blood, and counted Christ’s righteousness as mine. He placed me “in Christ” as his beloved, adopted child. Through Jesus, transformed rebels and rejects bring pleasure to his heart, just as earthly children bring pleasure to their parents’ hearts.
Not only did God make it possible for me to please him, he injected my heart with a pulsing desire to do so. I want to glorify him. I want to make him smile. Not out of guilt, but love and gratitude. How can I not want to please the one who saw me from afar, ran to embrace this pig-sty mud-encrusted prodigal, draped his royal robe on my shoulders and slid his royal ring onto my finger?
But there’s more. He not only gives the desire, but the power to please him. He tells me to fly, then supplies me with wings. He tells me to run, then invigorates my legs. He fortifies me to drive stakes through the heart of my sins. He makes me buoyantly bounce back when trials knock me down.
And Jesus, my great Mediator, takes my sin-stained efforts, strains out the dross, and presents them acceptable to his Father. He washes out the bad motives, and leaves the pure desires that he put there. He takes my pathetic worship, filters out the unbelief and distraction, and offers it to the Father as sweet incense.
I want to please him whether I’m singing praises or doing dishes, devouring the Bible or decimating a burger. That’s the aim of this warthog. How about you?
Photo by Brian Gratwicke