Day 9: What Makes God Smile? – 40 Days of Purpose-Driven Life

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Purpose #1: You Were Planned for God’s PleasurePoint to Ponder: God smiles when I trust him.

Verse to Remember: “The LORD is pleased [only] with those who worship him and trust his love..” — Psalm 147:11 (CEV)

Question to Consider: Since God knows what is best, in what areas of my life do I need to trust him more?

[Read More] thoughts on Day 9 of Rick Warren‘s Purpose-Driven Life* focused on Noah as an archetype (ark-type?) of someone who pleases God.

I must admit, I was surprised to see Noah headlining this chapter. It is surprising not so much because Noah is imperfect (most Biblical heroes are, after all), but because I somehow expected someone like Abraham, Joseph, Gideon, or David.Why? I’m not sure, except that we have a much more detailed account of their lives, and many examples of how their faith persevered through multiple trials. Noah’s reputation, by contrast, is pretty much built on a single act of faith. Or is it?
“But the LORD was pleased with Noah” Genesis 6:8 (CEV)
For some reason I never connected “pleases” with “brings pleasure”, but it does look like they are etymologically identical. Regardless, the point is that Noah did in fact please God with his life even before the ark incident. While we don’t have a lot of details, Rick still draws some interesting (and probably valid) conclusions from Noah’s life about how God smiles when we:
  • Love him supremely
  • Trust him completely
  • Obey him wholeheartedly
  • Praise & thank him continually
  • Use our abilities
Since we don’t yet have kids, I’m not sure I understand exactly what it means that we “bring him enjoyment by being you” — though I appreciate the sentiment. I was particularly struck by the idea that “God even enjoys watching you sleep!” — something difficult for a Type A person like myself to grasp.
Perhaps easier to grasp, though just as impactful, is the idea that “Wholehearted obedience is done joyfully, with enthusiasm.” I grew up in a church culture that implicitly said — as my current pastor likes to joke — that “God loves a cheerful giver, but accepteth from a grouch!” That is, God wants our conformity even if it lacks passion. I think I agree with my pastor that this is faulty theology. Yes, I am better off following God’s laws rather than behaving foolishly, but such superficial obedience does not please God. God is only happy when I find my happiness (and purpose) in Him.
Which is harder than it sounds.
Prayer: God, I just want to confess my weakness, pride, and superficiality — and how those sins are ultimately responsible for all the things I try to blame on you and others. Ultimately, what I need most is to let go of all my human desires — and my right to have my own way — and focus instead on pleasing you. Father, help me to embrace and live the paradox that I can only find my pleasure in dying to it for the sake of making you happy. Help me to know that you are so good and holy that nothing I do for you will ever be in vain (unlike what I do for myself). In particular, help me to do less, and enjoy more. I ask this in Jesus name, Amen.
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