Last Sunday many men received cards and greetings that said, “Happy Father’s Day.” For some of us, it’s a happy day. For others, it’s not. Some have great memories or relationships with their fathers; for some, the memories and relationships aren’t so pleasant. I have two siblings and we all had the same father, yet we all view him differently. Growing up together, however, I remember that the most important thing for all of us was to please our father. We wanted his acceptance and approval more than anything else. His approval and acceptance didn’t come easy, and it often didn’t come at all, but it never failed to be a powerful influence in our lives. When I was a child, pleasing my Father was intimately associated with obedience. I could do all kinds of interesting tricks and say witty things but none of that mattered when I was disobedient. Pleasing him began with obedience.

As an adult, God is my heavenly Father, and I truly want to please Him. Pleasing God in our life also has its roots in obedience. When Jesus was speaking of His Father He said in John 8:29, “… I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” When we think of obedience, we usually think of the 10 commandments and specifically think it mostly involves NOT doing the wrong things. But from Jesus perspective obedience is more of “do” than a “do not do” issue. If we look closely at the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20, we see that making disciples is the call on every believer. In these verses notice that making disciples involves, “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”

Pleasing our earthly Fathers may have been difficult and in some cases impossible but we can each please our heavenly Father. God doesn’t love us on the basis of performance. If we please Him really good, He doesn’t love us more. And if we rarely please Him, He doesn’t love us less. That’s part of the mystery of God’s love for us. But I can’t imagine living as a believer without a deep desire to please God. The joy of our hearts should be giving God pleasure.

“Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.” 1 John 3:21-22