Joyce Meyer - What Must I Do to Please God? - Part 1
Okay, this weekend I wanna talk to you about, what must I do to please God? I don't know about you, I've kind of gotten over it now, 'cause God taught me a lot about it, but I spent a lot of my years as a Christian being afraid that I wasn't pleasing God. And I don't even know what it was I was afraid I wasn't pleasing him about. It was just kind of this vague fear that I wasn't pleasing God. Now, part of it probably came from the way I was raised, because my father was very hard to please, and he was very easy to make angry. And so, I always kind of had this nagging fear that God was mad at me.
And so, the first thing I want to tell you tonight, is some good news, is God is not mad at you. See, you're not as happy as you should be about that. I think a lot of us, we don't have the understanding of how God feels about us, and how generous he is with forgiveness, and mercy, and kindness toward us, and how much God loves us. And it's much easier to please God than what you might think. And so, I'm gonna share with you what the Bible says about pleasing God, what must you do to please God. That ever been a question that you've thought, you know, you wanna do kind of halfway afraid you're not pleasing God?
And I wonder if, you know, "Have I done enough"? You know, "Have I read enough"? "Have I prayed enough"? You know, we're always thinking, "If we do enough, then God will be pleased". But the whole thing is it's not about our doing, it's about what he's done. And what he wants us to do, is believe what he's done, not try to do something to get him to love us, but to believe in what he has already done. In the Bible, you can read a couple of different reports. Some reports say there's 7.000 promises in here, some say five, but I'm gonna take seven, 7.000. And God just wants us to believe it.
Can you imagine how your life would change if you believed all 7.000 of the promises in here? And really, but really, I mean, really believed what the Bible said about you. Some of those scriptures that Ginger read, and had you confess, just that one that, "I can do all things through Christ, who is my strength". Man, that's life-changing. To get up every day and not have to be afraid to face the day, and to believe that whatever comes up that day, God will give you the strength to face it, and to handle it. We never know for sure what's gonna happen on any given day, but God will help us, and he will give us the strength to do what we need to do. But he wants us to believe it.
So, in Hebrews 11:6, which is our foundation scripture for this series, the Bible says, "But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to God. For whoever would come near to God must believe that God exists and that he is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek him [out]". Now, we can zip right through that scripture, and just pretty much miss everything that it's saying. So, we're gonna take it apart this weekend in three different messages. "Without faith it's impossible to believe God". He wants us to believe him, and he wants us to believe that he exists, that he is. And not just that he's off somewhere else, but he is with us all the time in everything that we do. Always. That you cannot hide from God. There's nowhere that you can go and get away from him because he is the great "I am". Not I will be, or I used to be, but "I am".
And God wants to be involved in everything in our life. Things that you would think he wouldn't care about and doesn't wanna be involved in, if we would just invite him into those things, we would get help from him that we're doing without, just because we won't ask. In James 4:2, it says very plainly, "You have not because you ask not". Very simple, you have not because you ask not. And I'm just telling every one of you, that there's so much more that God wants to do for you, and so much more that he wants you to have if you'll just ask. And I'll tell you ahead of time, you don't deserve it, but that's the point, we don't deserve it, but we get what Jesus deserves. We're inheritors, co-inheritors with Christ, and everything that he bought and paid for with his blood, we get if we will ask. If we'll just ask in faith. Amen?
I don't wanna pick on anybody in particular, but this young man here in this blue shirt, I just keep thinking God wants to do some things for you. I don't know what it is he wants to do for you, but I feel very strongly that you need to just start being bold in your asking. I mean, be bolder in your prayers than you ever have before. The Bible tells us to come boldly to the throne of God's grace. I hate what I call "Just" prayers. And they go like this, "Well, God, if you'll just... If you'll just do this, and if you'll just do that". You know what "Just" means? Barely enough to get by. And God's a lot bigger than that. We don't need to say, "Well, if you'll just do this". No, you say, "God, do everything that you possibly can". You know how I pray? "God, give me everything that I can handle and still keep you first in my life".
I always want God to be first. I don't want so much money that it would pull me away from God. I don't want so many things that it would pull me away from God. But we serve a big God. And Jesus paid a big price for us to have wonderful, big lives, not just barely get by lives. But you have to ask, and you have to ask boldly. In Hebrews 4:15 and 16 it says, "We have a high priest who understands our weaknesses and our infirmities because he has been tempted, just like we have, yet he never sinned". Therefore, because he understands, "Come boldly to the throne". Come on, come boldly to the throne. Even though he, "Understands your weakness and your..." "Come boldly to the throne, that you might receive mercy and grace in plenty of time to meet your need".
The best time to pray is when you've been bad. Amen? And we tend to shrink away from God, and that's when we need to go boldly and say, "I know that I don't deserve for you to do this for me, but your word tells me to pray boldly, and so I'm going to do it in faith". How many of you think your lives could change a whole lot, if maybe you'd start doing more of that? Amen? I have a feeling that the devil's gettin' mad tonight. Believe that God exists. And boy, I love this part, gonna teach on each one of these, not all of 'em tonight, but he is the rewarder. Wow, I love that! The Bible has so much to say about the rewards that we have coming. Jesus is coming back with rewards for works that you have done with a pure motive.
Now, we're not rewarded for works that we do to get something, or to be seen, or to be noticed, or to try to buy God. But anything that you do because you love God and you love people, there's a reward that's gonna come. I cannot imagine what God could come up with for rewards, but I can tell you I've had a lot of it in my own life. I went through a lot as a child, was mistreated by a lot of different people. But I'll tell you what, God knows how to make it up to you. God knows how to pay you back, amen. Faith defined: "Faith is the substance of things hoped for".
Hope. Do you know what hope is? A lot of people don't have any idea what hope is. Hope is not just, "Well, I hope, but I don't know. Maybe, I hope so, but you never know". No, the Bible word hope means: the expectation that something good is about to happen to you. That's what hope is. To get up every day and say, "Something good is gonna happen to me today, and something good is gonna happen through me today". When the Bible tells us to wait on God, it's that same word. It says, "To wait expectantly". If I told you that I would come to your house Sunday for dinner, and that I would be there at one o'clock, at one o'clock, no, probably startin' about ten to 1:00, because you would be in hope, excited, anxious for me to get there. Well, if we can feel that way about a person who said they'd come to dinner, how should we feel about a God who said he'll show up and meet all of our needs, and take care of us, and strengthen us, and comfort us? Amen?
When you come to the point where you can believe that God is with you all the time, and wants to be involved in everything you do, it changes your whole relationship with him. And back in 1976, some of you may remember, there was a real move of the Holy Spirit back in the '70s and the '80s, and people all over the world were being baptized in the Holy Spirit, and being closer to God than ever before. And the day that I was filled with the spirit, I was coming home from work in my car, and I had an expectation that God was gonna do something in my life. I didn't know what. And I was even praying that day and I said, "I don't know what you're gonna do, but I know you're gonna do something in my life". It was like, I had that gift of faith, "God, I just know you're gonna do something in my life".
And all of a sudden, I mean, the Holy Spirit fell on me, and I can honestly tell you I've never been the same since then. But that was a Friday, by the way, let me tell you, you don't have to have that kind of experience to be close to God. God meets us in different ways. But I bowled on Friday nights, and that was a Friday. Bowled in a league, and I was not bowling good that night at all.
And I wasn't used to hearing God talk to me. But one of the things that happened after I was filled with the spirit is, I started hearing God's voice. I started hearing him speak to me, not an audible voice, but that still small voice inside of me, which sometimes can sound like your own voice, but it's God speaking to you. Or sometimes just hearing God just comes as a knowing. You don't even know how you know, but you know that God spoke to you. You know that he said something to you. And I mean, just as clear, I heard God say, "Well, why don't you ask me to help you bowl"? And I said, "Well, you don't care about that"? Now, come on, there's a lesson here.
See, we think all God cares about is these big spiritual things, you know, our prayer life, and going to church, and how much of the Bible we read. But the thing is, is he cares about you and every single thing that you do. And there is nothing that you cannot ask God to get involved in, in your life. Come on, did you hear me? I call it, doing life with God. Everything you do, you drive in traffic with him, you go to the grocery store with him, you clean your house with him, you talk with him, you listen for him, you tell him what hurts you, what bothers you, you tell him when you need to be comforted. Just talk to God all day, draw as close to him as you possibly can.
Let's just read this scripture, Hebrews 11:6 again, I love it. "But without faith it's impossible to please God. Whoever would come near to God must believe that he exists and that he is the rewarder of those who", big word coming up here, "Earnestly and diligently, diligently seek him". Not you just go to church on Sunday morning and sit there half asleep for 45 minutes. That's not diligent. Diligent is working all day on Friday, and then coming to a conference to get more of the word... And probably, coming back again tomorrow, and then maybe even being silly enough to get up and go to church on Sunday morning. Just because you're a word hog! You just love the word.
Do you know that your life can change just sitting in this atmosphere? If I don't say one thing that means anything to you, you are in a room full of the anointing of God. Just think about it. Every believer has an anointing. And we don't talk enough about God's anointing. I heard a lot about God's anointing back in the '70s and '80s, and we hardly, a lot of people don't even know what it is. The anointing of God is so precious, it's his presence and his power in our life. And when God anoints you to do something, it makes it so easy, it's just so easy. And every person that's a believer has an anointing in them. So, you're just sitting here with hundreds of anointed people. Come on, it's not like all those cranky people you go to work with... Or the people with road rage that you can't make one mistake. You're sittin' in a room full of people that are full of God's love, full of his power, full of his anointing.
And I'll tell you what, you can just get blessed in this atmosphere. The Bible says the anointing of God breaks the yoke of bondage, amen? And that's what I prayed for this conference, that the anointing would be so strong that yokes would just be broken off of people. All kinds of yokes, all kinds of addictions broken, bondages broken off of you. We're not prisoners, Jesus came to open the prison doors and set the captives free. But some of us have been in prison so long we don't even know how to get out, amen. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things we do not see". So, faith is for the stuff you don't see, but you believe does exist in the spiritual realm, and that as you continue to believe and wait on God, it will make its way to you and manifest in your life at just the right time. Amen?
What I've learned to say, and I think it's a good thing, we receive the promises of God by faith and patience, not just faith, but faith and patience. And I can just tell you, when you have asked God to do something for you, and in faith you're waiting, you believe that you have received it, Mark 11 says, and you will get it. But it doesn't say when you will get it, and that's the hard part. There's a beginning and an end, but there's a middle. And seems to me we spent a lot of time in the middle. But the middle doesn't have to be hard if you stay in faith the whole time you're waiting. And one of the things that I say when I'm waiting on God to do something, and I start to get a little discouraged is, "God is working". And the Bible says, as long as we're believing that God is working.
So, you got a kid in trouble you're praying for, "God's working". You got a husband or wife that's an unbeliever and you're praying, "God's working". Come on, you got a big mess in your life that you need a lot of help with, and you're praying about God helping you, and showing you what to do, "God is working". Come on, we need to be excited that God is working on our behalf. Amen? I mean, just because you can't see it, that's nothing. That's what faith is for. Faith is for the things that you can't see. It's the things that we hope for, we're expecting, we're believing, we don't have 'em yet, they're not manifested in our life, but they're on their way because we have asked and it's God's promise. Colossians 1:4, in the Amplified Bible, gives a little different definition of faith, but I love it. It says, "For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, which is [the leaning of your entire human personality on him in absolute trust and confidence in his power, his wisdom, and his goodness]".
So, it's the leaning of our entire selves on him. And I don't know about you, but I've got a few personality quirks. And so, leaning my whole personality on him is a good thing, and I'm hoping he straightens it out. I said today, "I wonder if I'll ever get totally patient before Jesus comes back to get me". Dave was trying to fix the back of my hair. I've got a colic back there, and my hair will part. So, he's the hair fixer. He gets his comb out and he's fixing my hair, but he just takes such a long time, every hair has got to be perfectly in place. And he kept saying, "Be still". And I said, "Dave, I can't wait this long". I don't do waiting well, I wait on God better than I wait on people. So, I could use a little of that help with the human personality.