Lessons of God's Will from the Life of Jesus
3. Jesus Pleased God
The desire to please God was a dominant force in the life of Jesus. Jesus once said: ``The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him'' (John 8:29 NIV) [author's emphasis]. Jesus enjoyed a continuous conscious presence of God in His life because He always did what pleased God.
Therefore Jesus was never in doubt as to what God's will is. His principle was simple: Please God! Even today this is the simplest guiding principle to do God's will. If you really want to do God's will, eagerly desire to please God in all your thoughts, in all what you choose to see and hear and speak and in all what you choose to do. Then you will not have many doubts about God's will.
But is it that simple when it comes to acting on the principle? Definitely not. Though Jesus always pleased God, we often find it difficult to do so. Now the question is: ``When does it become easy to please God? The answer is: ``When you try to love Him!'' This is important since in life you try your best to please the person you love. You try to say and do things the way that person likes and appreciates. This is love in action. Similarly, you will naturally do things that please God if you love Him.
Jesus loved His Father and therefore chose to do what pleased Him. Taking an example from Jesus' life, Paul prayed for the people in Colosse that God will fill them with the knowledge of His will so that they may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way (Ref. Colossians 1:9,10).
But the Bible warns that ``Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God'' (Romans 8:8 NIV). Therefore you should aim to have your life controlled by the Spirit of God in order to please God. The Bible adds that anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God (Ref. Romans 14:18). In this passage, it specifically talks about having righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Ref. Romans 14:17).
There is not only a conflict between sinful nature and godly nature but also a conflict between pleasing men and pleasing God. Paul warns: ``If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ'' (Galatians 1:10b NIV). It is often a big struggle to please God instead of pleasing men. Paul writes again: ``We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts'' (1 Thessalonians 2:4b NIV).
He wrote again: ``Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more'' (1 Thessalonians 4:11 NIV). So, it is clear that you can please God more and more if you earnestly try to do so. And trying to do so is of great urgency and importance.
One practical example of pleasing God is to pray for those in authority so that you may live in peace and that the gospel may spread (Ref. 1 Timothy 2:1--4). Another example is children and grandchildren taking care of their parents or grandparents including those who are widows (Ref. 1 Timothy 5:4). Yet another example is sacrificial sharing with others (Ref. Hebrews 13:16, Philippians 4:18). Also, the Teacher wrote, that the man who pleases God will escape her who is a snare, whose heart is a trap and whose hands are chains (Ref. Ecclesiastes 7:26). These are some practical things that happen when you please God.
Finally, the Bible makes it clear that ``without faith it is impossible to please God'' (Ref. Hebrews 11:6). So it follows that in order to please God you need to have faith in Him. You should believe that He exists and He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.
Summary: The simplest step to know God's will is to ask whether what you decide to say or do pleases God.