A humorous series of pictures on social media shows dogs’ expressions before and after being told that they are “good dogs.” We, too, want to hear from God one day, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” but are we willing to make it our goal to please Him and walk in obedience?
I. John 12:42-43. Ever donate to some cause just to get a trinket in return? Though our motives are often selfish, we often tell ourselves that we attend church and do good deeds because we love God and others. But, it is with ourselves mostly that we are pleased. Fear of many things keep us from obeying God’s commands and pleasing Him. We must be careful not to be at home in this world (2 Corinthians 5:1-5).
II. Mark 1:9-11. The life of Jesus is a good study in how to live to be pleasing to God. When He was baptized, we see His Father expressing this. We also see this at His transfiguration in Matthew 17:5. We understand that Jesus pleased God because He was even obedient to death (Philippians 2:5-8), but the great thing is that through His obedience, He gave us the opportunity to please God (Hebrews 5:7-9).
III. 1 Corinthians 10:1-6. God is not a soccer mom who has an over-inflated view of His child. Nor does He lavish fake praise when He knows how separated from Him because of sin we are. Heaven is not a participation trophy! Instead, we are warned not to repeat the sins of those who have gone before us because God was not pleased with them. By living by faith, we are able to please Him (2 Corinthians 5:6-10).
No, we don’t earn our way into heaven by good works, but we must be an obedient child to one day hear God say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” That would not be possible for us to hear if Jesus had not gone before us and obeyed perfectly to the cross.