“We have everything we need to live a life that pleases God
It was all given to us by God’s own power.” (2 Peter 1:3, CEV)
When it comes to pleasing God, the big question is, “Can we do it?”
Do we have what it takes to make Him smile? Can we who live in an imperfect world, bring a perfect God delight?
My early years of ministry were focused on teenagers. As a youth pastor, I learned so much about parenting and family dynamics. One thing I repeatedly observed that broke my heart was how some young people just couldn’t please their parents. No matter what they did or how hard they tried, these kids didn’t measure up to their parents’ (most often the father’s) expectations.
I soon discovered a pattern. These frustrated young people would keep attempting to please, but eventually, after repeated failures, they gave up and spiraled downward to a careless and loose life. Disillusioned, they felt hopeless. If the parents had given their children more positive feedback, many train wrecks could have been avoided.
How about our heavenly Father? Can we actually please Someone who is flawless? Hear the apostle Peter:
“We have everything we need to live a life that pleases God. It was all given to us by God’s own power.” (2 Peter 1:3, CEV)
There’s our answer – we have everything it takes to live a life that pleases our heavenly Father. So from the outset, settle this in your heart and don’t ever let this knowledge slip away. God is the One who spoke these words through Peter. His Word is true and unchangeable. Never at any time accept the lie that you don’t have what it takes to please God.
Many believers look at certain Christians, especially great leaders, and think they could never measure up or be as delightful in the eyes of God as the apostle John, the apostle Paul, Billy Graham, Oral Roberts, Mother Theresa or anyone else they admire. The truth is that no one has any more ability to please God than you.
With that said, I want you never to forget this statement either: You have the ability to please God, but it is up to you to utilize the power and live it out.
God expects us to be faithful in what He has given us, and He doesn’t empower each child equally. Oh, how great it would be if believers firmly understood this truth. This is made clear in the parable of the talents. One servant was given five talents, another was given two, and still another was given one. Scripture specifically states that we are entrusted with gifts “to each in proportion to his own personal ability.” (Matthew 25:15) Each servant in the parable had different levels of abilities. In considering this we must also always keep in mind Paul’s words:
“Who made you superior to others? Didn’t God give you everything you have? Well, then, how can you boast, as if what you have were not a gift?” (1 Corinthians 4:7, TRV)
We must always pay attention to what has been given us by God. A person’s ability to write, teach, preach, sing, compose music, design, manage, organize, lead, interact well with people, and so forth is a gift given by God. If I keep that in mind, it guards me from the deadly trap of pride or envy – pride in thinking that I’m better than others, envy in coveting what another person has.
Returning to the parable of the talents, the man who was given five talents labored diligently and finished with ten. The man given two talents worked just as diligently but ended up with only four. Even though the first man ended up with six more talents than the other (far better results), both were rewarded equally. You can hear the pleasure in their master’s voice:
“Wonderful,” his master replied. “You are a good and faithful servant. I left you in charge of only a little, but now I will put you in charge of much more. Come and share my happiness!” (Matthew 25:21 or 23, CEV)
Notice the unusual scripture reference here – verse 21 or 23. The two verses are identical. I don’t believe this is an accident. God is emphasizing a very important point: verse 21 was for the man who gained ten; verse 23 was for the man who finished with four, less than half the first man’s total. Yet the master’s delight and pleasure for both servants was identical. Jesus says:
“If God has been generous with you, he will expect you to serve him well. But if he has been more than generous, he will expect you to serve him even better.” (Luke 12:48, CEV)
If you compare yourself with an admired leader, family member or friend, then you may come up short. The fact is, God probably gave that person more gifts, more ability, more talents than you. (Romans 12:3-6)
You were perfectly created by God to function in the kingdom and have the gifts and abilities to fulfill your specific assignments. So in regard to what we have, we cannot compare our measured results with others. However, in regard to what we do with what we have, we will be judged, and in this we bring pleasure, or a lack of it, to our heavenly Father.
Let me say it another way. If the two-talent servant had compared his two gifts with the one who had five talents, he would have fallen short. However, both servants doubled what they started with. They were equally faithful with what they had been given and equally delighted their master.
Thank God for the gifts and abilities with which he has blessed you and ask him to show you how to further utilize them in such a way that brings him pleasure.
“God, thank you for being so generous with the gifts and abilities you have given me. Help me to diligently use them for your glory and pleasure. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Adapted from Extraordinary: The Life You’re Meant to Live by John Bevere.
Editors: Michelle Brown, Randy Robison