“Wherefore we labor, that whether present or absent, we may be accepted of Him" (II Corinthians 5:9).
In this verse, Paul expresses the strong desire to be “pleasing to” (the idea behind “accepted of”) the Lord Jesus Christ. It should likewise be our own ambition—whatever we do and wherever we are—to please Him. This, of course, will make a difference in what we do and where we go!
The Scriptures give us a number of specific ways in which we can be confident of pleasing Him. For example: “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves” (Romans 15:1). That is, our criterion should be pleasing Him—not ourselves. Similarly, we are warned that “they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:8). That is, our thoughts and deeds must not be governed by worldly considerations, but by spiritual ones.
By suffering, willingly, for His sake, we can please Him. “If, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable [‘well-pleasing’] with God” (I Peter 2:20).
“Without faith it is impossible to please Him” (Hebrews 11:6). We must walk by faith, if we would please the Lord. This is not faith in the abstract, but specific faith—faith to believe. implicitly, the revealed word of God, and to act on that faith.
God is pleased with generosity. “But to do good and to communicate [to share what we have with others, for His sake] forget not: For with such sacrifices God is well pleased” (Hebrews 13:16). This certainly includes sharing the gospel, as well as our material possessions. “But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God” (I Thessalonians 2:4).
Finally, when our ways please the Lord, we have this gracious promise: “Whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight” (I John 3:22). HMM