Pleasing is defined simply as giving pleasure. Pleasure has the following definition — enjoyment or satisfaction derived from something that is to one’s liking. We could accurately say that pleasing God is to bring Him enjoyment and satisfaction. Many have been affected by parents, spouses or employers that could never be pleased. This may have caused them to conclude that God is like a harsh Father. People holding this view tend to feel they will never measure up, never be able to please God. They work furiously to please Him, or else give up in frustration.
Viewing God as One who can never be pleased distorts the understanding and purpose of His laws and precepts. One holding this erroneous perception sees the commands of God as simply arbitrary, designed to take all the fun out of life. Unable to keep His commands perfectly is just one more failure to please Him.
What do we need to see and understand in order to have a healthy view of pleasing God? What truth needs to be unlocked? The key is in the person of Christ. Following His baptism, these words came from heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:11) Receiving Christ and trusting His sacrifice on our behalf hides our lives in His. “For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Col. 3:3) The bottom line is clear. When we trust our lives to Christ, the Father is pleased with us. We are pleasing because Christ is pleasing, and our lives are hidden.
When we settle this issue once and for all, we begin to see His commands differently. We begin to accept that they were designed for our well being, and not given to rob us of some good thing. When we fail to keep His commands, we do not arouse an angry, displeased tyrant, but rather break the heart of a loving Father. We should strive to please God in our daily living, but not in order to gain His approval, but because we already have it through Christ.
— Terry A. Morrison