To “please” as generally used in the following passages means to give pleasure or delight to.
2 Cor. 5:6-10 What do Paul and Timothy (2 Cor. 1:1) say they have as their ambition, whether at home (here on earth) or absent (in heaven)?
Is this your foremost ambition in life, or is it to please yourself or others at the expense of displeasing God, and why?
If your ambition is to please God, how do you show it by how you live (e.g., your conduct, attitudes, goals, priorities, motives, activities, speech, values, financial and time management)?
What is one reason why we should have as our ambition to be pleasing to God (2 Cor. 5:10)?
Col. 1:9-10 Why did Paul and Timothy (Col. 1:1) pray and ask God that these Colossian believers be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding?
What does it mean to walk/live in a manner worthy of the Lord (see Eph. 4:1-3; 2:10; Col. 2:6; 1 Pet. 1:14-15; 1 Sam. 15:22)?
Are you pleasing (giving pleasure to) God in all respects or in only some ways, and why?
In pleasing God, do you pick and choose based on what’s convenient or comfortable to you, or do you seek to please God in everything the Bible says pleases Him, and why?
Eph. 5:6-10 What are we told to try to learn?
Are you trying to learn this?
If so, how?
Do you think reading your Bible to find out what it says about what pleases God is the best way to learn, and why?
Heb. 11:5-6 Without what, is it impossible to please God?
Do you believe that God is who He says He is (i.e., all-powerful, all-wise and all-knowing, eternal, sovereign, truth, present everywhere, infinite, faithful, holy, merciful, compassionate, righteous, good, full of grace, forgiving, Creator and Judge of the universe, patient, just, and righteously wrathful), and why?
And do you believe that God will fulfill His promise to reward those who seek (to know, worship, obey, serve, and love) Him?
Are you trusting God for: your salvation (Jn. 3:16; Acts 4:12; Eph. 2:8-9), your provisions (Matt. 6:31-33; Phil. 4:19; Psa. 34:8-10), His continuous love (Rom. 8:34-39), your not being tempted beyond what you can bear (1 Cor. 10:13), your service for God not being in vain (1 Cor. 15:58), that all things are working for good if you love Him and are a Christian (Rom. 8:28), that you’ll be rewarded for doing good (Gal. 6:9), God’s peace (Phil. 4:6-7), boldness rather than fear (2 Tim. 1:7), God never forsaking you (Heb. 13:5), wisdom in dealing with problems/trials (James 1:5), resisting Satan (James 4:7), forgiveness for all sins (1 Jn. 1:9), and answers to all your prayers that are according to God’s will (1 Jn. 5:14-15), and why?
Heb. 13:15-16 What three kinds of sacrifices please God?
Are you pleasing God by: praising (acknowledging and thanking) Him (for who He is and what He’s done throughout history and for you personally), doing good (to/for others), and sharing (what you have and are with others – e.g., your time, talents, treasure, and knowledge), and why?
Share a couple of recent examples where you’ve done this.
Jn. 8:29 What did Jesus always do?
Since Jesus lives in the life of the believer (Jn. 17:23; Rom. 8:10; Col. 1:27) and Jesus always does what pleases God, is it possible for us Christians to always do what pleases God, if Christ is Lord of (controlling) our lives?
What will you do to see that this takes place in your life?
1 Sam. 15:22 What brings greater delight/pleasingness to the Lord than animal sacrifices (i.e., voluntary/optional offerings)?
Are you pleasing God by your obedience to His commands in the New Testament (e.g., to build up spiritually other believers – Rom. 14:19; 1 Thes. 5:11; to evangelize the spiritually lost – Acts 10:42; 2 Tim. 4:5; Matt. 28:19-20; and to live a holy life, a life separated from sin and unto God – 1 Pet. 1:14-15), rather than just doing optional religious activities (e.g., playing in a religious band, being on some church committee, etc.), and why?
If not, what do you plan to do about it, and how soon?
1 Jn. 3:22 How does pleasing God and obeying His commands affect God’s answering our prayers?
Could this be a reason why you don’t receive as many answers to your prayers as you’d like?
If so, what do you plan to do about it, and how soon?
Jer. 6:19-20; Psa. 51:3-4, 16 When won’t participating in religious rituals, activities, and/or ceremonies be pleasing to God?
Did you realize that your church attendance, singing in the choir, teaching Sunday School or a Bible study group, witnessing, being a youth group leader, etc. is worthless to God if you’re living in sin, at the same time, by being willfully disobedient to any of God’s commands for Christians in the New Testament?
What sacrifices please God (Psa. 51:17)?
What else pleases God more than religious rituals/activities (Psa. 69:30-31)?
Are you pleasing God by having a broken (i.e., humble) and contrite (i.e., crushed because of sin) heart/spirit/attitude?
If not, what will you do about it, and when?
How does a person acquire a humble and grieving-about-sin attitude?
Rom. 8:8 What can’t those who are in the flesh (controlled by/living from their sin nature) do?
Are your desires, attitudes, thoughts, actions, goals, and words controlled by your sin nature and, therefore, displeasing to God, or by the Holy Spirit through your new nature (if you’re a Christian) and, therefore, pleasing to God?
How do you know?
1 Thes. 2:4-5 What did Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy (1 Thes. 1:1) speak, for which they were entrusted, that pleased God rather than their pleasing people with flattering speech?
Are you pleasing God by spreading the gospel (1 Cor. 15:1, 3-4 – that Christ died for the sins of believers, was buried, and was raised on the third day), or are you telling people that if they’re simply good or try their best, then God will let them into heaven?
1 Cor. 7:29-35 About what is the unmarried (spiritual) Christian concerned (1 Cor. 7:32)?
And what is the married Christian concerned about (1 Cor. 7:33-34)?
Why did Paul (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) record this (1 Cor. 7:35)?
If you’re a single Christian, are you undistractedly devoted to pleasing God?
If so, how do you show this?
If you’re married, is your top priority to please the Lord (by seeking to do the things of the Lord, like: evangelizing the spiritually lost and spiritually building up and training believers, and living a holy/godly life – Matt. 28:19-20; Eph. 4:11-12; Rom. 14:19; 1 Thes. 5:11; 1 Pet. 1:14-15), and why?
[This doesn’t mean that every Christian who is single is an entirely-devoted-to-the-Lord person and doesn’t have distracting concerns. Nor does it mean that every married Christian can’t be devoted to the Lord. What it is saying is that married Christians have marital responsibilities, such as to love their spouse, which can be quite time-and-attention consuming as they try to please their mate. Whereas, the single person doesn’t have that responsibility/concern. If both spouses were spiritually-minded, selfless, committed Christians, they could encourage each other to think about putting God first and serving Him as the priority over each other, which actually was the primary, original purpose for marriage (Gen. 2:18).].
2 Tim. 2:4 Why doesn’t a soldier in active service entangle himself in the affairs of everyday life?
Who called/enlisted us as Christians/saints (1 Cor. 1:2; Eph. 4:1; 2 Thes. 1:11-12; 2 Tim. 1:8-9; 2 Pet. 1:10)?
Are you pleasing God/Christ by not getting “entangled” (wrapped or caught up in) material possessions, home maintenance and beautification, money, career, school, non-spiritual relationships, sports, music, cars, hobbies, video games, TV, computers, body-building, martial arts, etc.?
Why would entanglement in these things prevent a person from pleasing God/Christ?
How are you making sure that you don’t get entangled in any of these things?
Would writing down and focusing on your God-given objective, goals, and priorities in life, and having daily reminders of these (by having daily Bible readings, wall posters, watching Christian videos, having godly friends, and listening to godly music) help?
1 Thes. 4:1 Though these Christians were pleasing God to some extent, what does Paul exhort them to do?
Even if you are pleasing God to some degree, are you striving to excel still more?
If so, how?
Mal. 1:7-8, 10 How did the Lord feel about the Israelites bringing defiled offerings (blind and lame animals) to Him on the altar as sacrifices?
Do you give God your leftover scraps of time, if you have any, to read your Bible and/or pray, after you’ve first done everything you really want to do?
Or, do you read your Bible and/or pray when you’re tired/sleepy, after you’ve expended your energy doing things you really wanted to first (like, working out in the gym, playing or watching sports or video games, being on the computer, etc.)?
Is God displeased with you because you try to obey Him, but do so in your own way (e.g., sloppily and/or lazily) or in your own time (e.g., when it’s convenient or comfortable) and not the way He’s prescribed in the Bible?
For example, do you witness/evangelize, but do so only once in a great while rather than as a way of life (regularly)?
Or, do you witness, but only through long-term friendship building first rather than to anyone, including strangers you meet for the first time, as Jesus and Paul did?
Or, are you trying to spiritually build up and train believers for Christ, but are doing so only by teaching them the Bible once a week rather than by living with them or by spending lots of time teaching and training them in spiritual leadership skills and helping them to develop Christ-like character through constant association, which includes correcting them?
Pleasing People and Ourselves
Rom. 15:1-3 What weren’t the stronger Christians (a metaphor, for being more knowledgeable in biblical truth) to do, but instead were to bear the weaknesses (false or wrong notions) of those Christians without strength (those less biblically knowledgeable, who thought certain things were wrong, though they weren’t actually wrong to do)?
Why were the stronger Christians not to selfishly please themselves in this situation, but rather please their fellow weaker neighbor/Christian?
Have you ever refrained from doing something that was legitimate because a weaker Christian thought it was wrong to do?
[If you did, it pleased the weaker Christian by removing a source of temptation for him/her to do that thing. This situation only relates to moral issues in which the weaker person would be built up in his/her Christian life by your refraining from involvement in the practice he/she views as wrong.].
Who is an example for us to follow in His not selfishly pleasing Himself?
Are you willing to give up your rights or legitimate activities (at least until you have a chance to clearly and biblically explain your views) for the sake of not being a hindrance to another Christian’s spiritual well-being, but instead be a tool for the weaker Christian’s spiritual growth, and why?
1 Cor. 10:31-33 How did Paul seek the profit/benefit of the many that they may be saved?
Do you please (become acceptable to) all kinds of people in all kinds of ways/areas (which don’t compromise the truth or what’s right) so that these people might become Christians or that Christians might grow spiritually by your not selfishly seeking your own interests in ways/areas that might be an obstacle to someone’s becoming a believer or growing as a Christian?
If so, give an example.
Gal. 1:6-10 When should we not try to please people?
If we try to please people by distorting the gospel, what wouldn’t we be?
Do you try to please people by watering down or changing the gospel of Christ (i.e., that salvation is found only through trusting in Jesus Christ as Savior, who died to pay for all our sins so that we are completely forgiven and assured eternal life in heaven, rather than including: baptism, keeping the 10 commandments, going to church, doing good works, tithing, being sorry for your sins, etc. as requirements for eternal life in heaven, Acts 4:12; Col. 2:13-14; 1 Cor. 15:1-4; 1 Jn. 5:13-15), and why?
1 Kings 3:5, 9-11 What did king Solomon do (ask for) that pleased the Lord?
Why was this pleasing to God (1 Ki. 3:11)?
What would you have asked God for if He said you could have any one thing, and why?
Are your prayers selfish or pleasing to God?
Why did you answer it this way?
Prov. 11:1 What brings delight/pleasingness to the Lord?
Are you bringing delight to God by dealing honestly with people?
If so, give a recent example.
Prov. 11:20 Who brings delight/pleasingness to the Lord?
Do you bring delight to God because of your blamelessness (integrity or outward moral life)?
How did you determine your answer?
Prov. 12:22 Who else brings delight to the Lord?
Are you bringing delight to God because of being truthful in your dealings with people?
If so, give a recent example of how you were when it may have been more convenient not to be.
Prov. 15:8 What else brings delight to the Lord?
Had you realized before reading this that the prayers of the upright (i.e., morally whole) do this for God?
Now that you know, what do you plan on doing about it, and why?
Jer. 9:23-24 In what else does the Lord delight?
Are you delighting God by exercising these?
If so, how?