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Pleasing or Placating?

This entry is part 20 of 54 in the series

"One Thing Have I Desired"

Read more posts by using the Table of Contents in the right sidebar.

Belief and trust in the Father’s unconditional love for us should prompt us to a worship of pleasing God, not placating God.The Christian life is not one of sending up merit into Heaven so that we may eventually have the right to stand there. The Christian life is believing that we are already seated in the heavenly places in Christ (Eph 2:6), and seeking to work that position down into life here in this world. Our obedience is not an attempt to earn the right to dwell in God’s presence, or an effort to maintain our standing in God’s presence. This approach only leads us to a rollercoaster of guilt and fleeting peace.

Crucial to communion is that Christians would grasp what A.W. Tozer wrote of: God is easy to live with.

The truth is that God is the most winsome of all beings and His service one of unspeakable pleasure. He is all love, and those who trust Him need never know anything but that love. He is just indeed and He will not condone sin; but through the blood of the everlasting covenant He is able to act toward us exactly as if we had never sinned. Toward the trusting sons of men His mercy will always triumph over justice.
The fellowship of God is delightful beyond all telling. He communes with His redeemed ones in an easy, uninhibited fellowship that is restful and healing to the soul. He is not sensitive or selfish nor temperamental. What He is today we shall find Him tomorrow and the next day and the next year. He is not hard to please, though He may be hard to satisfy. He expects of us only what He has Himself first supplied. He is quick to mark every simple effort to please Him, and just as quick to overlook imperfections when He knows we meant to do His will. He loves us for ourselves and values our love more than galaxies of new created worlds…

How good it would be if we could learn that God is easy to live with. He remembers our frame and knows that we are dust. He may sometimes chasten us, it is true, but even this He does with a smile, the proud, tender smile of a Father who is bursting with pleasure over an imperfect but promising son who is coming every day to look more and more like the One whose child he is.

Some of us are religiously jumpy and self-conscious because we know that God sees our every thought and is acquainted with all our ways. We need not be. God is the sum of all patience and the essence of kindly good will. We please Him most, not by frantically trying to make ourselves good, but by throwing ourselves into His arms with all our imperfections, and believing that He understands everything and loves us still.1

Instead, Christians seek to ‘become what they are’. We glory only in the merits of Christ (Gal 6:14), not on anything we have done. Our obedience is not a yoke of bondage, labouring to satisfy God. God is satisfied only with Christ, and in Christ, we can seek to please him, become like him, and so know him. Obedience becomes part of communion.

Our Enemy knows the legalistic bent of our hearts. He hates to see us draw closer to God by clinging to our position in Christ. He accuses us before God and accuses us to our faces – decrying how unworthy we are. Satan’s goal is to see us retreat into a defensive posture, where we try to make excuses, or try to boast in our own righteousness. The more we do so, the less we are looking to Christ and trusting him, and the more advantage we have given Satan to exploit our pride, our fears and our guilt. When Satan accuses us, we must face him with our position in Christ, not with our own righteousness or with feeble excuses.

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)

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David de Bruyn

About David de Bruyn

David de Bruyn pastors New Covenant Baptist Church in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is a graduate of Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Minnesota and the University of South Africa (D.Th.). Since 1999, he has presented a weekly radio program that is heard throughout much of central South Africa. He also blogs at Churches Without Chests.

  1. “God Is Easy to Live With”, in The Root of the Righteous (Camp Hill, PA: Wingspread Publishers), electronic edition, (Camp Hill: Zur Ltd. Database, 1987, Austin, TX: WORDsearch Corp., 2007). []

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