3 “Unpopular” Ways to Make God Smile
What Christian wouldn’t want to make God smile? So why do some of the things that the Bible teaches make God happy seem so unpopular today?
Have we ever considered that God might be joyful? That He might often be happy and smiling? Joy is a fruit of God’s character (Galatians 5:22). Like a loving Father, God is pleased and happy when we do things that benefit us and others. Surely He smiles when we do what He knows will be good for us (Hebrews 13:21).
What makes God smile?
There are many good examples of things that please God: having faith in Him (Hebrews 11:6), living like Jesus the Christ lived (2 Peter 1:17), doing good and sharing with others (Hebrews 13:16) and fearing (or deeply respecting) God (Psalm 147:11). Many people would probably agree that all of these things are good things to do.
But there are also some well-documented examples in the Bible that don’t seem to be as popular in the Christian world today. They can be summarized simply as obedience, commitment and courage.
Let’s look at the unpopular trio.
1. Obedience: respecting and keeping God’s Sabbaths
God designed specific festivals as special times of the year for us to celebrate and learn important truths (Leviticus 23). Jesus and the apostles kept them. The majority of the Christian world today, on the other hand, rejects these holy days and replaces them with man-made days, from the weekly Sunday church service to Christmas and Easter.
God smiles and is clearly pleased when His specially designed Sabbaths are observed and displeased when these days are ignored or profaned (Ezekiel 20:10-24; 22:8; Deuteronomy 12:31). We encourage you to study these festivals and learn what they mean.
Like a loving Father, God is pleased and happy when we do things that benefit us and others.2. Commitment: repenting of sin and changing
God wants us to repent and overcome sin for a good reason. Sin’s inevitable outcome is suffering and death, no matter how normal, pleasurable or good it seems to us. When someone turns from sin to obedience to God, there is joy in heaven. God has no pleasure when someone destroys his or her life or others’ lives through continual sin (Ezekiel 18:32).
Changing our lives to a way that doesn’t lead to a sad spiritual end not only pleases God, it also brings joy to the angels (Luke 15:7, 10). That’s another reason it is important for you and me to repent.
3. Courage: hating evil
God doesn’t want us to hate other people—that is the opposite of His will and character (Galatians 5:20; 1 John 3:15). But what about hating evil and sinful actions?
God is pleased when we identify and hate evil (Psalm 97:10; Proverbs 8:13).
When we see wrong, we need to call it wrong. It is our responsibility to do this with wisdom and love, not slipping into the trap of self-righteous condemnation or hypocrisy (Ephesians 4:15).
Why are these three things unpopular today? The following selfish answers are not very flattering for those who want to call themselves Christians:
- Jesus Christ did away with everything that is in the Bible that I don’t want to do, except what I define love to be.
- I want to be able to please God by doing what I think is right, not by what He says is right.
- I’ve redefined God in my mind, and He likes what I do to please Him.
Sadly, these unbiblical reasons are at the root of the thinking of many who identify themselves as Christians. But they do not please God.
How about you? Are you making God smile?
For more insight into this topic, read “7 Ways to Please God.”