Recently someone remarked, “Anne, I know God is pleased with you.” And I was left to wonder, how did that person know? Did he just have a feeling God was pleased? Or did he hope God was pleased with me and thought if he said it, it would be true? Did he have certain standards that I seemed to have met? Was he just saying something he thought would encourage me without really knowing? These questions led me to prayerfully contemplate …
How can anyone know when God is pleased? Do we assume that He is pleased when we enjoy good health? When our job is going well? When our investments yield a significant return? When people speak well of us? When our prayers are answered the way we want? When we’re happy? On what do we base the evidence of His favor and good will? How do you know when God is pleased with you? The answer that God gave me from His Word was eye-opening.
READ LUKE 3:21-22, 4:1-44
I. WHEN GOD IS PLEASED HE TELLS YOU
- Describe the scene in Luke 3:21-22 in your own words. Who was speaking?
- What did He tell Jesus?
- Write out one thing that pleases God from each of the following verses: 1 Chronicles 29:17; Romans 8:1, 8; 1 Corinthians 1:21; Colossians 1:10; 1 Timothy 2:1-4; Hebrews 10:38-39, 11:6 and 13:16.
- Based on the above verses, how do you know that God is pleased with you? Or is not pleased with you?
II. WHEN GOD IS PLEASED HE TESTS YOU
- In Luke 4:1-2, what phrase indicates Jesus’ spiritual condition?
- Where was Jesus coming from? Was God pleased with Jesus at the beginning of Luke 4?
- What does this teach us about the “setup” for a test?
- Where did the Spirit of God lead Jesus? Describe the place in your own words.
- What difficult place have you been in? How does Luke 4:1 encourage you?
- Whom does God test? Read Genesis 22:1-2, 15-16 and Deuteronomy 7:8 along with 8:16.
- Give some of the reasons God tests us from Deuteronomy 13:3, 1 Chronicles 29:17, Psalm 66:10, Job 23:10, Isaiah 48:10, ?1 Corinthians 3:13, 1 Peter 1:7, ?1 Thessalonians 2:4 and James 1:3.
- In Luke 4, what do you think could have been a reason for the Spirit of God leading Jesus into a place where He would be tested?
- What desert place are you in?
- How are you being tested?
- Instead of a sign of His displeasure, could the testing be evidence of His pleasure in you, and His preparation of you for greater service to come?
III. WHEN GOD IS PLEASED HE THRUSTS YOU OUT
- How did the testing affect Jesus? See Luke 4:14.
- Give the immediate sequence of events that took place in Jesus’ life after He was tested, according to Luke 4:15, 4:22, 4:28-30, 4:37 and 4:44. What do you learn from this?
- How was Isaiah’s experience similar in Isaiah 6:8-9? Jeremiah, in Jeremiah 1:17-19? Paul, in Acts 26:15-18?
- Considering the fact that the Prophet Jeremiah never saw a positive response to his message, how would he have known God was pleased with him? Scan chapters 46-50 in Jeremiah for your answer.
- What ministry has God thrust you into? Could it be that the doors of opportunity that He is opening are evidence that He is pleased with what you have done thus far?
IV. WHEN GOD IS PLEASED HE TEAMS YOU UP WITH OTHERS
- Following His testing and being thrust out into broader service, what did Jesus do? Read Luke 5:1-11, Matthew 4:21-22 and John 1:43-51.
- How many disciples did Jesus team up with altogether? See Luke 6:13.
- What is implied by the pairing of the disciples as Jesus thrust them out into ministry, in Mark 6:7-11?
- How do we see this same principle later in the early church? See Acts 13:2-4 and 15:36-41.
- What are some of the benefits from serving the Lord with someone else? See Proverbs 27:17; Philippians 1:3-5, 2:19-23; Colossians 4:7-9, Colossians 4:10-11; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; 2 Timothy 2:1-2, 4:11; Hebrews 3:13.
With whom has God teamed you in ministry? How have they helped you? How have you helped them?
Would you consider that the team God has given is evidence of His pleasure in your ministry? Take a moment now and thank Him for each of your teammates by name.
“So we make it our goal to please him … Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me … One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal” (2 Corinthians 5:9; Philippians 3:12-14, NIV 1984).
As I live my life for His pleasure, this study has given me glimpses of evidence that I am achieving the goal. And so I’m encouraged. I pray you are, too.
©2012 Anne Graham Lotz