I don’t know about you, but I love self-help materials. I love self-help books, self-help seminars, self-help webinars, self-help conferences, self-help blog posts, and the countless self-help tools that make our most precious commodity, time, appear to be a little less fleeting.
There’s just something empowering about evaluating one’s inner motivations, limiting beliefs and world views. And then, once enlightened, to begin crafting a plan to achieve one’s optimal life by evaluating which beliefs we should change, and how we should go about doing it.
We set the alarm earlier. We make better use of the superfluous technology available to help us get, and keep organized. We even enlist pressure of our social media peers in an attempt to tip the compulsion scale in our favor and ensure that our less than esteemed habits become a thing of the past.
Sound familiar? Of course our real struggle begins a few days or weeks later, when we realize that all the growing and changing we were hoping to do as a result of our latest round of self-reflection, just turned into another episode of disappointment for failure to take action or failure to keep the momentum going.
Not by chance, usually by this time in the self-improvement cycle my inner voice brings me to the most important of self-reflective questions, namely, “What does God expect of me?” Because although I will inevitably place expectations on myself, the only person’s opinion of me that really should matter after all, is his.
The answer can be found in Hebrews 11:6. It says this:
“6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
So often we read this passage and we immediately conclude, “Oh, I get it. I need to have more faith,” but that’s not really what the author is saying. The author is not referencing the quantity of faith we must possess in order to please God, (because we’ve all been given the same measure of faith – 2 Peter 1:1), but rather the quality of faith we must possess in order to please God. Specifically, the quality of God-pleasing faith we need, is the kind that not only believes that God exists, but the quality of faith that believes that God is a rewarder of anyone who earnestly seeks him.
We also know from Hebrews 11:1 that faith “is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” This means that even though we may not be able to see God, we’re certain in our hearts that he not only exists, but that he’s a God who abundantly blesses his people.
God-pleasing faith is also sure of things that we secretly hope will happen, but that haven’t happened yet. For example, to be fully persuaded that God will provide you with a good spouse someday, or to be convinced that God will provide for all of your needs according to his riches in glory, are all ways that express our faith in him. It’s like having an intuition that you know things will work out, because God is good and he wants good things for you.
Having faith like this pleases God, because it proves to him that we know and understand him to be a good father who loves to bless his children. Because God knows he’s trustworthy, reliable, & true, he expects us to not only know this about him, too, but to live in such a way that we demonstrate our understanding of his good nature.
And, according to Hebrews chapter 4, the best way for believers to demonstrate faith in God’s goodness is to take action on everything he tells us to do with a confident expectation of a good outcome.
Operating in this type of God-pleasing faith, simultaneously positions our heart, our minds and our souls in a permanent state of rest, knowing that the only thing we must “do” to please him, so to speak, is to believe that he is so good that he gave the supply before we even had a need.