To begin, note Hebrews 6:11: “And without faith, it is impossible to please God…”
According to the Scripture above, faith is the way to pleasing God. Let’s explore this a little. Whenever I have had the opportunity to sit with people, and the privilege to listen to the story of how they’ve come to know Jesus (and each story is delightfully different), one common denominator stands out – God broke into each life by His sovereign initiation. He makes Himself known to each person in ways that match his or her unique circumstances.
Faith is started, or kindled, by God’s revelation of Himself. Faith is never anything other than the response of a human being to the initiative of God in making Himself known. Faith never takes the first step, it responds to God’s own grace in revealing Himself.
A Christian life begins with our response to God’s initiative, and it continues with the repeated response to God’s continued initiative of revealing Himself. I am aware that God has once and for all revealed Himself in history through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. But it still takes the work of God’s Spirit to make this great salvation come alive in the human spirit, enabling that individual to respond to God’s grace with living faith. We continue to move ahead in faith as we sense the Spirit of God making His love, light, and truth personally known to us. This is faith that pleases God.
This faith is not based on, or dependent on, my abilities or strengths, but it is an invitation to exercise trust in His ability as God to transcend my limitations, weaknesses, and humanness. We are not required to contribute anything in responding to God but to only bring ourselves and nothing else. Therefore, please God can only be a willing response of a person who ‘sees’ God and says, “Here am I.”
The amount of faith is not the issue, but rather, it is the object of faith that matters. It does not help me to be told that I need more faith – I know I do. The more I’m focused on the faith I do not have but know that I should have, the more hopeless and useless I feel. What I need to do is to point away from myself to the Lord Jesus, who is the Author and Perfector of faith. This I believe, pleases God.
Also, what faith may or may not achieve is secondary to the Lord’s delight and pleasure in those who exercise it. In fact, if we were to look at Abraham’s life (the father of faith) from the perspective of the results he achieved by his faith, we would be a little disappointed. God did not seem to be interested in that, but He was more concerned to see a man growing in trust to follow and obey and love Him as a friend in all the circumstances of life.
Therefore, living by faith is not the experience of only a few high-powered people. Living by faith is friendship with God, embracing the gift of God to all who receive it. This pleases God.
The chapters in the book of Genesis that describe the life of Abraham do not list all his achievements, If anything, they list his failures. But, they reveal to us, God’s dealings with Abraham. For Abraham, his faith expressed his friendship with God. For God, Abraham’s faith made such friendship possible, and friendship is not measured by what is achieved, for friendship cannot be measured. It is simply enjoyed and shared as it deepens and grows. Very little of the whole of the human experience can stay untouched by a deep and great friendship.
Therefore, living by faith is not the experience of only a few high-powered people. Living by faith is a friendship with/ God, embracing the fit of God to all who receive it. This pleases God.