Have you ever wondered if Jesus was tempted to doubt whether or not He had pleased God with His life and ministry? Have you ever wondered if Satan could have tempted Him to have the fleeting thought that the cross was evidence God was not pleased? How could Jesus, or you, or me, know whether or not God is pleased with us?
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 goodwill? 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; 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 “set-up” 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?
- Who does God test? Read Genesis 22:1-2, 15-16; Deuteronomy 7:8; 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; 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 it being 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 in Luke 4:14 affect Jesus?
- Give the immediate sequence of events that took place in Jesus’ life after He was tested, from these verses in Luke: 4:15, 22, 28-30, 37, 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 had 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 to serve 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? See Luke 5:1-11; Matthew 4:21-22; and John 1:43-51.
- How many disciples did Jesus “team” up with all together? See Luke 6:13.
- What is implied by the pairing of the disciples as Jesus thrust them out into ministry, in Matthew 10:2-5?
- How do we see this same principle later in the early church? Read Acts 13:2-4; 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 4:7-11; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; 2 Timothy 2:1-2; 4:11; Hebrews 3:13.
- Who has God teamed you with 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).
And 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. ©2018 Anne Graham Lotz
Adapted from an article published in June 2012.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version®, ©1973, 1978, 1984, by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.