Genesis 5 is a listing of Adam’s descendants to the time of Noah. It goes on with name after name listing the number of years the individual lived and is followed with the phrase, “And then he died” in every instance instead but one.
In the case of Enoch, in Genesis 5:21-24, we are not told that he died but that “he was no more, because God took him away.” He was and then he was not because he was transmitted to the presence of God. The text says two times that Enoch walked faithfully with God. (Remember that. He walked faithfully with God.) It is curious why Enoch did not experience death. The only other person to have been so blessed was Elijah. What was it about these two men that caused them to experience the extra blessing of simply being transported from earth into eternity in a way that suggests they bypassed death? I’m not sure, but I do know that Enoch was someone who pleased God.
Hebrews 11:5-6 “By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. (And now we are going to see a connection between Enoch’s life and a life of faith as verse 6 seems to be a continuation of the thought in verse 5.) And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
Enoch was commended as one who pleased God. What if the focus of our lives was simply to please God? How can we please God? We start by pursuing a relationship with Him.
Pursue a relationship with God. If we are going to live to please God, He is to be the focus of our lives. He cannot be an ad-on, an addendum to an already full life. He is to be our life and from that Source, from that center, all other parts of our lives gain insight and the resources needed to live a life of maximum Kingdom impact.
Y’all know there is a difference between pursuing something and simply participating in something, right? Anyone who comes into this space can participate in what is going on, but they don’t have to pursue anything in order to participate. They can stand and sit when everyone else does. That isn’t pursuit. That is simple participation. They can even listen with interest, but if there is no effort or energy given to engaging with the goal of pleasing God, nothing has been pursued. To pursue is to go after something. It is to seek to acquire something. It involves a desire to gain something.
My husband wasn’t even trying to win me when I fell in love with him. I simply was watching him minister to someone who was hurting, and in that moment, I fell head over heels in love with him. Now, for a few months prior, he had been pursuing me, and I hadn’t been drawn to reciprocate. I think he had all but given up! But, at the moment I fell for him, I fell hard, and it was now on me to pursue him. I didn’t just want to spend time with him. I wanted to marry him. Legit. The night God opened my heart to him, I began to formulate a plan to pursue with the intent of making him my husband. Y’all it was not a casual, “Let’s see where this leads” kind of thing. It wasn’t exploratory. I knew I wanted to be his wife. I wanted him to be my husband. I knew I wanted to spend my life with him. I knew we were meant to do life together.
So, it was a few days before Valentine’s Day. I bought two cards for him. One was funny. One was serious. I took the cards to a counseling appointment that a girl from my church had with him. That’s literally how I fell in love with him, by attending her counseling session and watching him treat her like Jesus would. I gave him the cards, expecting him to open them after we were gone. Y’all, he opened them on the spot! He silently read them in front of us! That serious card was way serious. I spilled my guts about my deep feelings for him. He acted so cool, calm, and collected and didn’t acknowledge anything about the contents of the cards. He went along with that counseling session like nothing had happened. The session ended and he was like, “Have a good night, and be safe driving home!” I figured I had totally blown it. He didn’t call me until 10 pm that night! And when he did, he said, “What are we going to do about this mutual attraction?” I said, “You’re going to pick me up on Thursday, Valentine’s Day, for dinner.” And the rest was history.
Do you understand that I was serious about my intentions, and I let my intentions be known? There was no wishy-washy approach. I wasn’t kind of interested. I was all-in and my actions said the same. I wanted Thom Pratt to be my one-and-only, and I pursued him to that end. I wonder how many people who profess Christ are still really just exploring Him as an option, how many are sort of dating Jesus while keeping their options open to the things of the world. How many include God or participate in the things of God, but aren’t really pursuing an exclusive relationship with Him?
Psalm 63:1 “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” That sounds like a passionate pursuit! Are you intentionally seeking and searching for Him? Do you have the sense that you can’t wait to be with Him? Are your thoughts on Him during the day? Do you think about Him when you wake up of a morning? Pursue Him with a passion.
Another way we please God is by living a life of faith. Live a life of faith. Enoch took God at his word. How do we know that? He lived a life of faith. Hebrews 11:6 said, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” What is one thing that you currently do that requires faith in God in order to do it? Can you list one?
Tithing, which means giving 10% of your income to the Lord, is a difficult subject for many people to think about, especially in an economy like we are currently dealing with, but it’s a biblical principle, and it is one way we demonstrate faith in God. When we give, we do so in faith, believing God will use what is given for His purposes and that He will keep supplying what we need in order to continue to give as He asks. Giving, tithing, is an expression of faith.
Jesus challenged His disciples to do His work by faith. Listen to Luke 9:1-3: When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. 3 He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt.
First of all, we see that Jesus gave the disciples power and authority over demons and disease. When they encountered someone who was sick or demon-possessed and prayed for them to be healed or delivered, they did so in faith believing that Jesus really had given them the power they needed to do so and that when they prayed for healing or commanded evil spirits to be gone, there would be the results to show that they had indeed been sent by Jesus and had been given His power and authority.
We also see Jesus telling them, in this instance, to take nothing for their journey. They weren’t to pack a bag. They weren’t to gather snacks. They were to leave their money at home. They weren’t even to take extra clothes. They weren’t even to take a staff which might have served to give them stability as they walked or to help them beat off an attacker if needed. Jesus was putting them in a position where all they had was His commissioning and His name to rely on. He would take care of them. He would cause people to be favorable toward them, to give them a place to stay, to feed them, and clothe them if needed. Jesus removed everything they could rely on instead of Him and put them in a faith-only position.
How often are we in a faith-only position? Oh, God, if YOU don’t show up, the consequences will be catastrophic? Oh, God, if YOU don’t bring the deliverance, we have no way out. Oh Jesus, if you don’t soothe this wound or work out this relationship issue, there is no hope? How often do we voluntarily put ourselves in a position that requires nothing but faith? This is how I believe Enoch lived his life. This is what pleases God. A person of faith says, “If Christ sends me, He will provide for me, protect me, and perform His miracles through me.” Faith is trust that Jesus will make the difference, and because you believe that you set out by faith. It means you believe the results don’t depend on you, but on God alone. It even means you are willing to sacrifice or suffer or look foolish in some circumstance because you are trusting Jesus to show up. It means you are willing to talk to that friend about Jesus. It means you are willing to get involved in a situation even when you feel you are in over your head because you believe Jesus will enable you to swim and for as long as possible.
In addition to passionately pursuing God and to exercising faith, I believe God wants us to open our mouths and declare His truth to the world. It pleases Him when we share His Word with others.
Echo God’s message to those around you, even if it’s not popular. Jude 14-15 of the only chapter of Jude gives us a glimpse of the prophetic lifestyle of Enoch. These verses in Jude 14-15 say, “Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” Enoch was saying some very hard, but true things to the folks around him, warning people of God’s judgment. He spoke out against the actions, attitudes, and words of the people in his generation that refused to become right with God. Pleasing God means we forget about being popular. It means we deliver God’s message and resign ourselves to do what God wants instead of what we want.
I am blessed to work in an environment where I am not hearing others torn down. I am not hearing off-color jokes. I don’t deal with sexual innuendo, racism, and harassment in my workplace. I know many of you do. How can you take a stand for right and truth?
I believe Enoch’s faith and his ability to speak boldly for righteousness and truth came from the fact that Scripture tells us he “Walked with God.” He didn’t just pursue the relationship with God, but he walked with God so closely, He could hear God speak. When God spoke, Enoch opened his mouth to be a vessel God could use.
Who will tell the world the truth if it isn’t the Church? We cannot elevate individual expression above the truth. We cannot elevate inclusion over the truth. It doesn’t please God when minimize or shy away from the truth in order to maintain some status or popularity. The truth will create waves. Jesus made waves. I’m not going anywhere looking for a fight, but I won’t refrain from sharing the truth when someone has believed a lie because believing lies robs people of the life Jesus died to give them. It isn’t loving to withhold the truth from people. I don’t want to stand before God one day and have Him say I was complicit in the assassination attempts of Satan to steal, kill, and destroy people through his lies because I wasn’t willing to share the truth with them. The truth sets people free, John 8:32 You want to please God? Help people get free from the lies of the enemy.
Pursing a relationship with God. Live a life of faith. Echo His Word in the world, and fourth, Accompany God wherever He goes. We want God to walk with us. How about we seek to walk with Him? How about instead of asking Him to bless what we are doing, how about we seek to do what He is already blessing? Genesis 5:21-24 tells us that Enoch walked faithfully with God.
If I’m walking with God, you’ll always see God with me. Walking with God implies that He is in charge. If I am with Him, then I am following His lead. He is charting the course. Walking with God means that when God goes one way, and I want to go another, my way is put down for the higher way of God’s way.
Walking with God involves a person’s entire life. Colossians 1:10 says, “And we pray this in order that you may life a life worthy of the Lord and may PLEASE HIM (This is the subject of today’s message, pleasing God) in every way: bearing fruit in every good work.
I remember a time in my life when I would pray each morning, “God show me what my assignment is today.” Many years ago, when we lived in Cincinnati, while I was waiting for a checkup in a doctor’s office, I noticed a woman sitting alone in the corner, and she was crying. I simply went to her, touched her shoulder, and asked if she was alright. She told me she was in extreme pain and had been waiting for an hour to see the doctor. I asked her what I could do for her. She just said she needed some Kleenex. I went to the appointment desk to ask for Kleenex and mentioned that her pain was so bad that she was in tears. They took her back to an exam room right away. I literally heard God say, “That was your appointment for this morning!” She didn’t even know my name. I would never see her again, but God helped me perform the ministry of Christ in a doctor’s office. God was on call at the doctor’s office, and I got to accompany Him there.
Another thing we must do to please God is Surrender to the will of the Father. There is no joy in running from God. You will just live conflicted in yourself if you do. If there is something you know God desires for you to do, quit resisting and submit. Jesus pleased God. John 8:28, 29-“So Jesus said, ‘When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what PLEASES him.” Jesus had to die to please the Father. What do you need to die to this morning? Pride? Getting your own way? Lust? Pornography? Do you need to die to being in control? Do you need to die to doubt and live in faith? Do you need to die to your own insecurities? I tell people who are nervous or fearful about sharing their gifts in this ministry that we all need to remember when we are in Christ, we are dead to ourselves, and dead people won’t get nervous or fretful because we won’t be worried about our reputation or looking good!
Jesus was in a prime position to glorify Himself. He was God. He was performing miracles. He had an increasing following. He had twelve men he was personally mentoring to carry out his work. Yet, He chose to point not to Himself, but to the Father. He chose submission (Luke 22:42) that the Father would be glorified through His life. What a model for us to follow. If we are not submitted to the purposes of God, we must wonder if we really trust him.
Finally, in order to live a life pleasing to God, you must:
Evaluate yourself regularly. In your mind, right now, ask yourself this question, “What about my life is pleasing to God?” Is the way you talk to your spouse pleasing to God? Is the effort you are giving to your employer pleasing to God? Is the demonstration of your faith pleasing to God? Who have you been talking to about Jesus? Who have you led to Christ? How are you serving God? In what ways are you personally seeking to grow in your faith? Then ask yourself this question, “What about my life is displeasing to God?” I don’t think it is very difficult to look at my life and know if I am pleasing or displeasing God. Pleasing God will show up in the stuff of my life.
Back to Adam’s Family Tree and the phrase “And then he died.” What a phrase to follow the ending of someone’s life. It’s so bland, so nondescript. It’s almost like the phrase “Easy come, easy go,” or “Here today, gone tomorrow.” Almost like, “So what?” I don’t know about you, but I want folks to say more about me when I’m gone than “And then she died.” I want them talking about Christ because of me. I want them growing in their faith and obedience because of me. Like Enoch, I want to leave a testimony of faithfulness that will have people asking about the rest of my life. I want my life to leave the fragrance of Christ behind. I want to be bold to declare the truth and speak for righteousness, even when it’s hard. I want to walk by faith and not by sight. Friends, I want to do more than just make it to heaven. I want to make a significant impact here on earth.
Do you want to please God?
Pursue your relationship with God passionately.
Live a life a faith.
Echo His Word in this world.
Accompany Him wherever He goes.
Surrender to the will of the Father.
Evaluate yourself regularly.