Proverbs 15:8-9 The Lord detests the sacrifice of the wicked,
but the prayer of the upright pleases him.
The Lord detests the way of the wicked
but he loves those who pursue righteousness.
This is very simple, logical advice for anyone who wants to please God. Two things stand out here to me. The first is that you can’t bribe God. If your daily lifestyle isn’t in line with Him, then doing “big” things that might seem admirable doesn’t faze Him. The contrast in verse eight is between an animal sacrifice that could represent a lot of money and simple prayer that doesn’t cost a thing. God does ask us to commit everything to Him, but He doesn’t care how much, by human standards, that is. After all, He gave it all to us in the first place! The next verse deals even more explicitly with lifestyle. There are indeed lifestyles that put us solidly on the wrong side of the fence when it comes to God. If we go with the flow of society, we can easily find ourselves in such a lifestyle. The way to avoid that is actively to seek righteousness. We all slip up at times, and the devil is relentless in trying to drag us down, but it’s just like Jesus told us: “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.” (Matthew 6:33) We’ve got to remember that isn’t passive. God wants all of us, and the one thing that is truly ours is our will. If we give Him our will, actively choosing Him above all else, we will be pleasing and useful to Him indeed.
This naturally applies as much to me as it does to anyone. I do desire to please God, so I need to dedicate myself to fellowship with Him in prayer and be actively purposeful in doing everything He shows me, as well as in steering clear of what He says is not pleasing to Him. I am all too aware that the standards of the world don’t line up with the Bible! I have a lot of the Word in my mind and heart, so I need to be active in putting it into practice, and not be satisfied with just head knowledge. (James 1:22) God is gracious and merciful to all, but I want to be on His “favorites” list! The good thing is that list is open to all who actively pursue it. I want not only to be on it myself, but also to lead many others to be so as well, for their eternal blessing and God’s glory.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Help me indeed be pleasing to You. I have learned by experience that I have neither strength nor wisdom to get it right on my own, but that You can do it in and through me. Help me indeed keep my will lined up with Yours, so that all of Your plans involving me may be fulfilled on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!