And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.
…for before [Enoch’s] translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5 (KJV)
For years now, inspired by the account of Enoch in the Bible, it’s been my overall desire that, if my life had to be summed up by three words at its end, those words would be: Nadine pleased God. I’ve been living and working in accordance with that desire for as long as I’ve had it, reaching for it as I would a goal I mean to accomplish at some point in time. However, earlier this year while I was mentioning this desire to God, as I often have, His reply was, “If you’re waiting for that big moment when I’ll be pleased, it isn’t coming.”
Hm. I wasn’t expecting that.
Now, being an author, I commonly learn about and experience God through my authorship, as He’s an author, an artist, the Creator, and all that good stuff. Considering God’s “it isn’t coming” comment to me, I had to think about the books I’ve written. I’ve been aware from jump that some people will like my books, some will not. Though it’d be great if I was one day deemed to be a Pulitzer, Nobel, or other prestigious prize-worthy author, garnering literary acclaim isn’t my focus or the reason why I write, nor is acclaim or applause what I wait for to know that my books are good.
Are my books without flaws? Nope. But they’re amazing even with their flaws, much like human beings are. And even if scarcely any other soul in the world ever thought my books were worth anything or even knew these books exist, I, Nadine, know what I wrote.
I know what I did. And I am pleased with it.
Sure, I’ve known for a long time that the Bible says to “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed” (II Timothy 2:15, NASB), and I’ve learned that this work should take place not for God’s approval but from God’s approval, as one who’s already been approved by Him, having been made His righteousness in Christ (II Corinthians 5:21). Yet, when it came to my desire to have pleased God by the end of my life, the assurance of His approval hadn’t yet met the reality of His pleasure, in my mind.
Nevertheless, God created all things, and all things exist for His pleasure, according to Revelation 4:11. In other words, it has pleased Him to make all that He’s made. And when God created the heavens and the earth, when He made the sun, the moon, and the stars, when He made fish and birds and beasts, and then when He created human beings in His image, “God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31, KJV). God knew what He made, and from the beginning, He knew that it was good. And He was pleased with it.
So. When it came to me and my living and working to please Him, as I would live and work toward an unaccomplished goal, God told me, “It’s like you’re waiting for some one moment, some big ‘thing’ you’re going to do, and then I’ll be pleased with you and your life. But I’m already pleased with you. I made you, and I am pleased with what I made. So if you’re waiting for that big moment when I’ll be pleased, it isn’t coming. It already is.”
I had to think about that for a little while, and, gee! It made sense.
Now. Does this mean I’d ever stop living the kind of life that I believe He’ll be happy with, since I already have His approval? Nope. I’m striving to live in a way that will consistently show that His approval has indeed been given to me.
It’s in our nature as humans to live to please. You may be living for the approval of your parents, your spouse, your children, your boss, your colleagues, your teachers, your friends, your fans, your doubters, yourself, or whomever. You may even be living for God’s approval, hoping as I was that, one day, He will be pleased with you. Well, if you are, know that God sees you, the person He made, and, behold, you are very good. He approves. Therefore, you are free to live in a way that shows everyone just how good a thing He’s done.
God knows what He made. He knows what He did. And He is pleased with you.