20 things you may be doing in an attempt to make yourself more pleasing to God instead of believing that you are made pleasing by Christ
Inside the heart of every person is a desire to be favored, honored, and loved. We want to know that we are pleasing – especially to God. How do we please Him? We can try by our own actions to impress and appease Him or we believe by faith that He has made us pleasing through the death of His Son, Jesus Christ. One approach fills me with determination and commitment, the other with humility and gratefulness. One makes me try harder in hopes of what I will get. The other with love for what’s been done by Jesus. We experience the pleasure of God when we believe in Christ. We experience greater sorrow when we don’t.
At one time you were far away from God and were his enemies because of the evil things you did and thought. But now, by means of the physical death of his Son, God has made you his friends, in order to bring you, holy, pure, and faultless, into his presence. Colossians 1:21-22
1. Committing to do good things (giving, Bible study, praying, witnessing, etc.) in hopes God will be more pleased with me.
2. Coming to God only when I feel I have been good, “close” to Him, faithful to Him, self-disciplined, etc.
3. Expecting greater blessing from God as a reward for my faithfulness.
4. Thinking God is more pleased with me after I have done something good for Him.
5. Thinking I deserve greater blessings from God than others who have been less obedient than me.
6. Thinking that being good gains me greater attention and favor from God.
7. Trying to add enough Christian things to my life (Christian music, church, Bible verses, etc.) so that God will bless me.
8. Measuring my righteousness and closeness to God by comparing myself to others.
9. Thinking that before I can draw close to God and have His favor, I have to first clean up my life.
10. Trying to become more holy by the things that I do and don’t do.
11. Refusing to believe that full righteousness and holiness comes by faith in what Jesus accomplished.
12. Going throughout my day trying to do more Christian things than non-Christian things.
13. Thinking I am more pleasing to God when I am more miserable over my sin (see: “Punishing Ourselves for Our Sins”).
14. Thinking that because of Christian things I do, I am more holy than I used to be.
15. Thinking that Christ-likeness comes as a result of doing the things Jesus did.
16. Thinking that more prayer, fasting, giving, witnessing, church attendance, mission trips will lead to a greater smile from God.
17. Measuring my closeness to God by the convictions I have for or against certain things.
18. Measuring mine and others’ closeness to God by clothing, language, political ideas, music, habits, etc.
19. Thinking that by accomplishing certain Christian goals I can become more righteous, holy, and Christ-like.
20. Thinking that secluding myself away from the world, temptations, and ungodliness that I become more righteous.