God Smiles When We Use Our Abilities
By Rick Warren
— May 21, 2014
He has shaped each person in turn; now he watches everything we do. Psalm 33:15 (MSG)
After the flood, God gave Noah these simple instructions: ''Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything" (Genesis 9:1, 3 NIV).
God said, "It's time to get on with your life! Do the things I designed humans to do. Make love to your spouse. Have babies. Raise families. Plant crops and eat meals. Be humans! This is what I made you to be!"
You may feel that the only time God is pleased with you is when you're doing "spiritual" activities like reading the Bible, attending church, praying, or sharing your faith. And you may think God is unconcerned about the other parts of your life. Actually, God enjoys watching every detail of your life, whether you are working, playing, resting, or eating. He doesn't miss a single move you make. The Bible tells us, "The steps of the godly are directed by the Lord. He delights in every detail of their lives" (Psalm 37:23 NLT).
Every human activity, except sin, can be done for God's pleasure if you do it with the attitude of praise. You can wash dishes, repair a machine, sell a product, write a computer program, grow a crop, and raise a family for the glory of God. Like a proud parent, God especially enjoys watching you use the talents and abilities he has given you. God intentionally gifted us differently for his enjoyment. He has made some to be athletic and some to be analytical. You may be gifted at mechanics or mathematics or music or a thousand other skills. All of these activities can bring a smile to God's face.
You don't bring glory or pleasure to God by hiding your abilities or by trying to be someone else. You only bring him enjoyment by being you. Anytime you reject any part of yourself, you are rejecting God's wisdom and sovereignty in creating you. God says, "You have no right to argue with your Creator. You are merely a clay pot shaped by a potter. The clay doesn't ask, 'Why did you make me this way?'" (Isaiah 45:9 CEV).
In the film Chariots of Fire, Olympic runner Eric Liddell says, "I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast, and when I run, I feel God's pleasure." Later he says, "To give up running would be to hold him in contempt." There are no unspiritual abilities, just misused ones. Start using yours for God's pleasure.
God also gains pleasure in watching you enjoy his creation. He gave you eyes to enjoy beauty, ears to enjoy sounds and music, your nose and taste buds to enjoy smells and tastes, and the nerves under your skin to enjoy touch. Every act of enjoyment becomes an act of worship when you thank God for it. In fact, the Bible says, "God generously gives us everything for our enjoyment" (1 Timothy 6:17 TEV).
Parents do not require their children to be perfect, or even mature, in order to enjoy them. They enjoy them at every stage of development. In the same way, God doesn't wait for you to reach maturity before he starts liking you. He loves and enjoys you at every stage of your spiritual development.
You may have had unpleasable teachers or parents as you were growing up. Please don't assume God feels that way about you. He knows you are incapable of being perfect or sinless (1 John 1:8). The Bible says, "He certainly knows what we are made of. He bears in mind that we are dust" (Psalm 103:14 GW).
What God looks at is the attitude of your heart: Is pleasing him your deepest desire? This was Paul's life goal: "More than anything else, however, we want to please him, whether in our home here or there" (2 Corinthians 5:9 TEV).
When you live in light of eternity, your focus changes from "How much pleasure am I getting out of life?" to "How much pleasure is God getting out of my life?"
God is looking for people like Noah in the 21st century - people willing to live for the pleasure of God. The Bible says, "The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who are wise, who want to please God" (Psalm 14:2 LB).
Will you make pleasing God the goal of your life? There is nothing that God won't do for the person totally absorbed with this goal.
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