Have you ever wondered if you were making the right decision? Have you ever been afraid that something that you desired to do would not please God? Sometimes, making decisions feels like I’m walking a very fine line. It was like I was balancing on a tightrope. If I made any wrong moves, I would fall out of God’s good graces. Then, one day I realized an important truth: There was a difference between appeasing God and pleasing Him.
Understanding the difference between appeasing and pleasing God was the key to unlocking healthy decision-making in my life. To please someone, you must know them. The main issue with my decision-making process was my relationship with God.
Who are We Aiming to Please?
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” – Romans 12:1
In Romans, Paul says to present your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God. This passage has held a lot of weight for me (and I’m sure many others). Paul seems to be urging the Romans to make sure they have their acts together. Spiritual worship is presenting yourself before God as holy and acceptable, pleasing. But what does it mean to be pleasing to God? This is an impossible task if you have little idea what God is like. To please someone, you must know them.
Paul is saying that pleasing God is part of our worship. We’re bringing an offering, not based on what we think we’re supposed to do but based on what we know about God’s character and person. Throughout Scripture, God is clear about what pleases him: holiness.
The Impossible Task
“You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” – Matthew 5:48
It’s easier to pretend to know what God wants from us. We know that God asks for us to behave a certain way to avoid His wrath. Don’t sin, be nice, be honest. It seems simple enough, but I used to struggle with this mindset daily. We hold ourselves to a standard that is impossible to maintain. When you begin to grow in your knowledge and understanding of God, you get a better sense of what it means to please him. God holds us to a standard but not in the way we expect.
Jesus Holds the Key to Healthy Decision Making
“…Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:2
The key to healthy decision-making is applying the Gospel of Jesus Christ to your everyday decisions. Knowing and carrying out the will of God is beyond our ability. The real reason we attempt to appease God is that we don’t know Him. When we try to please God by our own strength and abilities, we make decisions in a spiritually unhealthy way. Healthy decisions come from understanding what God really wants from us. It is through Jesus that we can please Him. God is satisfied when we rely on Him for his power to transform our thinking and actions to what is pleasing to Him. When we step forward each day in his love, grace, and mercy, our faith in Jesus must be at the forefront of every decision we make for God to be pleased.
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“His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man, but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.” – Psalm 147:10-11