It would be true to say that the church has focussed the message of the gospel on the negative "what displeases God" more than the positive "what pleases God". It could also be true to suggest that many would find little correlation between the things that apparently please God and that which makes us happy. We have been dangerously close to dividing life up into dissociated parts.
In actual fact, the things which please God are essentially those things which make life more enjoyable for us. Jesus said, "I have come that you might have life and have it to the full." (John 10:10) The work of God in our lives brings about joy and happiness (in the midst of struggle, not apart from it). Pleasing God brings meaning to all of life, not just as a religious duty, but as an expression of our very selves. It does not destroy our individuality, but brings it to full expression.
So, when it comes to pleasing God, we end up finding life more enjoyable. It is not a matter of conforming to petty rules and practices, ignoring the realities of life. Pleasing God instead comes from disciplines and freedoms which are enjoyable and beneficial for us and for others, and which make life more meaningful.
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