A radiant sunrise over a serene landscape, casting a golden glow upon a peaceful church nestled amidst blooming flowers, evoking a sense of divine beauty and tranquility that pleases God.

What Pleases God? A Comprehensive Guide

What pleases God? This is perhaps one of the most important questions a religious person can ask. Our innate desire is to live a life that is pleasing to our Creator. If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: God is pleased when we have faith in Him, follow His commandments, love one another, and use our talents to serve others.

In this comprehensive 3000 word guide, we will dive deep into the major factors that please God based on biblical principles and verses. We will explore topics such as having faith, loving others, being obedient, using our gifts, giving thanks, and more.

With over 5 detailed sections, biblical examples, and actionable insights, you will walk away with a thorough understanding of how to live a life that is pleasing to God.

Having Faith in God

Trusting in God’s Plan

Trusting in God’s plan for our lives is essential to having faith in Him. Though we may not understand all that God is doing, we can rest assured that He has our best interests in mind (Jeremiah 29:11).

Surrendering our will to His and accepting that His ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9) demonstrate genuine faith.

As an example, think of a child who trusts their parents to decide what is best for them. The child may want to eat cake for breakfast, but the parents know that is unwise. This does not mean the parents don’t care for their child; rather, their greater wisdom and experience inform their decision making.

Similarly, an all-knowing and all-loving God may steer our lives in ways we don’t expect or fully comprehend, but we can trust His perfect plan.

Believing Without Seeing

Another aspect of faith in God is believing without physically seeing Him. As Jesus told Thomas, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29). Unlike Thomas, who doubted until he could touch Jesus’ wounds from the cross, we today must have faith without that tangible evidence.

Still, we are not left without reassurance of God’s presence and work in our lives. As Hebrews 11:1 explains, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Though God currently dwells in heaven, we can see Him through studying His Word, communicating with Him in prayer, and experiencing His peace and joy.

We can also look back and recognize how He has guided and provided for us.

Living by faith rather than sight requires rejecting doubts and trusting God even when circumstances seem bleak. Fixing our eyes on Jesus helps us do this (Hebrews 12:2). The more we know His loving character from Scripture, the easier it becomes to believe without seeing.

Not Losing Heart During Trials

A final aspect of faith in God is persevering through difficult trials. When adversity comes, we may be tempted to lose heart and turn from God. But Scripture encourages us not to give up:

  • “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)
  • “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (James 1:2-3)

Holding onto faith during suffering demonstrates that we truly trust God. It shows that our relationship with Him takes priority over earthly comfort and convenience. We can rest assured that God uses trials for our good to refine our faith and make us more like Christ (Romans 8:28-29).

Examples of biblical figures who persevered through immense trials include Job, Joseph, David, Daniel, Paul, and Jesus Himself. Their steadfast faith, despite horrific circumstances, challenges us to trust God’s goodness and sovereignty even when we cannot understand why difficulties come.

We may pass through the fire, but we do not pass from God’s hands.

Loving One Another

Showing Love to Our Neighbors

Jesus taught that we should love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:39). This means caring for those around us, treating them with kindness and compassion. Here are some ways we can show love to our neighbors:

  • Greet them and learn their names
  • Offer to help with yardwork or house projects
  • Bake them cookies or bring meals if sick or after a new baby
  • Watch their home when they are away
  • Shovel snow from their driveway
  • Give them a ride if their car breaks down
  • Invite them over for dinner or backyard cookouts
  • Introduce them to other neighbors to expand their community
  • Send cards for birthdays or holidays
  • Offer to babysit so neighbors can have a date night

Small acts of kindness go a long way in making our neighborhoods more loving places. As Mother Teresa said, “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.” When we treat our neighbors with genuine care and concern, we spread the love of Christ in practical ways.

Loving Our Enemies

One of Jesus’ most challenging commands is to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44). This goes against our natural inclination to fight back or seek revenge when hurt. However, loving enemies displays the radically transformative love of God.

Here are some ways we can love enemies:

  • Pray for them rather than resenting them
  • Do good deeds for them like sending a gift
  • Wish blessings on their lives instead of cursing them
  • Respond gently and do not retaliate if provoked
  • Work to understand their perspective even if disagreeing
  • Forgive any wrongs instead of holding a grudge
  • Look for common ground and humanity in them
  • Overcome evil with good actions toward them

This does not mean allowing abuse or harmful actions. But we should aim to heal relationships with enemies when possible. An Amish community famously forgave and supported the family of a man who killed several Amish girls, amazing the world with their graciousness.

As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” When we demonstrate undeserved love for enemies, we reflect God’s love which overcomes evil.

Caring for the Poor and Marginalized

God commands us repeatedly in Scripture to care for the poor, the widows, the orphans and the needy (Isaiah 1:17, James 1:27, Galatians 2:10). Jesus especially ministered to the marginalized who were cast out by society. We can follow His example through actions like:

  • Donating money, clothes or food to charity organizations
  • Volunteering at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen
  • Mentoring underprivileged youths in the community
  • Spending time listening to and praying with those in prison
  • Visiting elderly people who may be lonely
  • Standing up for the oppressed who are denied justice
  • Providing educational resources to disadvantaged communities
  • Welcoming new immigrants who may feel excluded

Around 38.2 million Americans live in poverty (census.gov). The Bible says true religion is to care for orphans and widows (James 1:27). When the church serves “the least of these,” we are serving Jesus Himself (Matthew 25:40). Small actions of mercy and justice make a huge impact.

Obeying God’s Commandments

The Ten Commandments

The Ten Commandments are considered the fundamental laws and code of ethics in Christianity. They were given to Moses by God on Mount Sinai and serve as the foundation for how to live a moral and righteous life. The commandments cover our duties to God and our responsibilities towards others.

Some examples are having no other gods before Him, honoring your father and mother, not murdering, not committing adultery, not stealing, and not bearing false witness. Christians believe following the Ten Commandments brings us into closer relationship with God and helps create a just and compassionate society.

Following Christ’s Teachings

In addition to the Ten Commandments, Christians also look to the life and teachings of Jesus Christ as the model for how to live a God-pleasing life. Jesus emphasized loving God wholeheartedly and loving your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:30-31).

He taught the Golden Rule, to “do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31). Some of Christ’s major themes included serving the poor and marginalized, showing mercy and forgiveness, being peacemakers, rejecting greed and materialism, and sacrificing for the sake of others.

Christians believe that following the model of Jesus – through compassion, service, integrity, and spiritual devotion – is central to living a life that is pleasing to God.

Living Righteously

The Bible provides additional guidance for how to live righteously in a way that honors God. This includes being generous with our money and possessions, being honest and truthful, controlling our temper and words, not holding grudges but extending forgiveness, being faithful and loyal in our relationships and commitments, and conducting ourselves with humility, patience and self-control.

Christians are called to “clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12). As the apostle Paul says, we are to “lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called” (Ephesians 4:1).

Our righteousness should be evident not just through avoiding sin but by proactively doing good – serving others, righting injustice, defending the vulnerable, and bringing light to the world around us.

Using Our Gifts and Talents

Discovering Our Spiritual Gifts

God has gifted each believer with unique spiritual gifts to build up the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:4-11). Discovering our spiritual gifts involves prayerfully reflecting on our God-given passions, talents and experiences.

An online spiritual gifts assessment like https://gifts.churchgrowth.org/ can give guidance on potential gifts. Common gifts include teaching, service, encouragement, giving, leadership, mercy, evangelism. Ask fellow believers for feedback on where they see your gifts.

View spiritual gifts as opportunities for humble service, not sources of pride (1 Peter 4:10).

Stewarding Our Talents Responsibly

Our natural talents and abilities are also gifts from God, though distinct from spiritual gifts (Matthew 25:14-30). Skills in areas like music, arts, writing, athletics, mechanics, and more can honor God when used rightly.

We steward talents responsibly when we cultivate them through practice and education, use them to bless others, and give God glory for any achievements. For example, an artistic believer could glorify God by painting church murals, or a musically gifted person by leading worship.

Be careful not to become prideful about talents, which can lead to failing to depend on God. Make talents count for eternity by using them to draw people to Jesus.

Serving Others with Humility

Jesus modeled humble servanthood by washing His disciples’ feet, showing that greatness comes from serving others (John 13:1-17). Our spiritual gifts and natural talents are meant to serve the body of Christ, not boost our egos (Romans 12:3-8).

Approach opportunities to exercise gifts and talents with humility, not expecting recognition or thanks. Esteem others as more important than yourself (Philippians 2:3-4). Remember that apart from Christ, we can do nothing (John 15:5). Give God praise when He uses you to impact others.

Let service be its own reward, keeping an eternal perspective (Matthew 6:1-4).

Giving Thanks and Praise

Having an Attitude of Gratitude

Cultivating a heart of gratitude pleases God immensely. When we choose to be thankful in all circumstances instead of grumbling and complaining, it shows that we recognize God’s sovereignty and trust in His goodness (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

An attitude of gratitude reflects a heart that is focused on God rather than one’s circumstances. It takes faith to give thanks when life gets difficult, but this act of sacrificial praise brings joy to the Father.

Some ideas for actively living out gratitude each day include:

  • Keeping a gratitude journal where you record things you’re thankful for
  • Telling others how much you appreciate them
  • Praying and giving God thanks before meals
  • Singing worship songs with lyrics about thankfulness

By purposefully reflecting on the blessings we do have rather than what we lack, our perspective changes. We recognize the truth – that every good gift comes from above (James 1:17). This posture of thanksgiving brings delight to God’s heart.

Rejoicing Always

God calls us to rejoice always – not just when life is going great (1 Thessalonians 5:16). But rejoicing in trying circumstances can feel almost impossible. So how do we walk in joy when we face pain, loss, or disappointment?

The key is fixing our eyes on the eternal. This earthly life is fleeting, but we have a glorious hope in Jesus. No matter what happens here, God has secured our forever with Him in paradise. When we remember this truth, our temporary troubles seem light compared to the coming glory (2 Corinthians 4:17).

We can rejoice knowing that God causes all things to work together for our good (Romans 8:28) and that He will wipe away every tear one day (Revelation 21:4).

We also rejoice because we have the honor and privilege of participating in God’s mission. He invites us to be His hands and feet – sharing the gospel, making disciples, feeding the hungry, and caring for those in need. What an awesome purpose!

Even when circumstances are hard, we can have joy in fulfilling our calling.

Worshipping God Wholeheartedly

One of the chief ways we can please God is through heartfelt worship. When we exalt His name in song, bow before Him in reverent awe, and live all-out for His glory, it brings great joy to our Abba Father. He delights in His children’s sincere praise and adoration.

Wholehearted worship involves things like:

  • Singing with passion and zeal
  • Listening closely to God and obeying His voice
  • Serving God energetically without growing weary
  • Giving generously to support His work
  • Sharing the gospel urgently because you know eternity is at stake

God wants worshippers who hold nothing back – pouring out their lives as living sacrifices to Him (Romans 12:1). This passionate, sold-out worship flows from an understanding of who God is. The more we grasp His amazing love, glory, power, and worth, the more awe and adoration grow in our hearts.

We must know Him deeply to worship Him fully. As we make worship our lifestyle – both corporately and individually – we bring delight to our Maker who is seeking true worshippers (John 4:23). What an honor to be counted among them!


In summary, living a life that pleases God requires faith, love, obedience, selflessness, and thankfulness. As we seek Him first and align our will with His purposes, we can discover the profound joy and fulfillment that comes from pleasing our Creator.

While we will stumble at times, God looks at the posture of our hearts above all else. May this guide encourage and equip you to live each day in a way that brings a smile to the heart of God.

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