“Carefully determine what pleases the Lord.”
Ephesians 5:10 NLT
We want to please the Lord. Why would we want to make the Holy Spirit sad? Why would we not want to please God? We think back to the point when we realised that through Jesus’ sacrifice at Calvary, when He gave His life for ours, when He traded His righteousness for our unworthiness, when we realised how much He must have loved us, then we, from our knees, can only respond with a thankful heart, brimming over with a desire to please Him. We realised that our pre-Christian lives didn’t please Him one little bit; in fact God turned His back on our sins. But in the light of God’s presence, now being aware of a new dimension of living, we want to please the Lord.
So what pleases the Lord? We know what doesn’t – worldliness manifesting in our thoughts, our speech, our behaviour, our deeds. It’s called sin. But Paul wrote verses elsewhere in his epistles that help. In one of them, Romans 12:1, we read, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.” There’s another relevant verse in Colossians 1:10, “Then the way you live will always honour and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.” From these two verses we get a complete answer to our question about pleasing the Lord. It’s all about living a surrendered life, surrendered to God and His ways. Sounds simple on paper, doesn’t it? But the reality of living a surrendered life is far from easy. You see, there is a basic desire within us to live a sinful life. Paul articulated the problem we face in Romans 7, “I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.” But thankfully, Paul gave us the answer in the first two verses of the following chapter in Romans, “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.”
The Holy Spirit will help us lead a surrendered life that pleases God. And notice that the presence of the Holy Spirit is not benign; He has the power to transform our lives, if we let Him. And in the transformation we please the Lord.