A few years ago, Pat and I kept our three-year-old grandson, Nathan. One day we were having a war of wills, and I was losing. Nathan was getting the best of me. It came to a frustrating point with a seemingly easy task: get his slip-on tennis shoes to stay on his little feet. I would put them on, and he would kick them off and laugh about it. After the third round, I tried a new tactic—bribery: “If you will keep these shoes on, I’ll take you to eat pancakes for breakfast.” Before he answered, he looked up at me and in all seriousness, asked: “Will it make Jesus happy?”
“Will it make Jesus happy?” What a question! I had not thought about that, but after a few seconds of reflection, I told him it would make Jesus happy if he kept his shoes on his feet. I was hoping Dr. Martin Canavan, my Systematic Theology teacher, never heard about my answer. I don’t remember covering “what makes Jesus happy” in the chapter on Christology. However, as I thought about it, maybe we should have covered that subject in theology. “Making Jesus happy” would certainly be a major subject in a three-year-olds’ theology book. I was glad Nathan’s parents and Sunday School teachers taught him it was important to make Jesus happy by his actions.
So, this got me to thinking: Am I making Jesus happy? Are you making Jesus happy in what you do? Is Jesus pleased with our thoughts, choices and activities? After all, that is really what living for Christ and eternity is all about—doing what pleases the Lord! And, from a child’s view, it is about making Jesus happy.
Jesus Himself lived with the goal of pleasing the Father, making His Father happy. He said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work” (John 4:34). For our Lord Jesus, His whole purpose in life was to do God’s will and finish God’s work. Jesus meant that doing God’s will and pleasing His heavenly Father was as important to His spiritual life as literal food was to His physical life. If we love, follow and serve Jesus, pleasing the Father should be just as important to us.
Pleasing the Father by doing His will was so imperative that Jesus said it was the very reason He came: “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 6:38). Doing God’s will was always Christ’s aim in life. It was why He came from glory, was born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, died a sacrificial death, and was raised to new life again. Jesus summed up His purpose in life, in the Garden of Gethsemane, the night before His great sacrifice, as He prayed: “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not my will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42).
So, what makes Jesus happy?
Receiving Him—as your Savior, pleases Him, for it is the reason He came. “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit” (1 Peter 3:18). It pleases the Lord when people repent of their sins and trust Him to save them. “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12).
Following Him—as your Lord, pleases Him. After receiving Christ as your Savior, you should follow Him in water baptism and join a church that preaches Him and follows His Word. This pleases the Father, just as the Lord’s baptism by John caused God to proclaim: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). Water baptism did not make Jesus God’s Son, but proclaimed Him to be God’s Son. Water baptism does not make you His child, but publicly proclaims you to be His child. As Paul wrote, “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Galatians 3:26-27). Faith in Him makes you His child—Baptism like Him announces it to others.
Serving Him—as Master of your life, pleases Him. After announcing that we are saved by grace through faith, by the “gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8), Paul writes, that then, “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works” (verse 10). After salvation comes service. It pleases God when you, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
So, are you making Jesus happy? You only have a short time—Are you seeking to please Him? Doing God’s will may call for sacrifice and could result in pain, trials and discomfort. But that is a small cost for the privilege of serving your great Savior who paid the ultimate price for you.
Think about Nathan’s question: “Will it make Jesus happy?” We could do nothing better than seek to make Him happy! Paul wrote, “Therefore also we have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him” (2 Corinthians 5:9). Pleasing the Lord with our lives is what it is all about!
P.S. I am taking a short hiatus from writing this weekly blog. Along with two other pastors, I am co-writing a theology book that will require my focused writing attention for a while. Hopefully, I will write more Devo-blogs after the end of this year. THANK you for reading!