Romans 8:8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
There are so many people in this life to please – your spouse, your family members, your congregation, community members, etc., etc. The list could go on. So much of the time we feel inadequate, never quite meeting anyone’s expectations. Because we spend so much time spinning our wheels trying to please the people in our lives, we think that our relationship with God works this way also. We fall into subconscious works righteousness because it’s the norm. We look at our programs and ministries and marriages and wonder if they measure up to what God wants of us.
Am I submitting enough? Am I loving enough? Am I enough?
This verse tells us that in the flesh, we are not enough. It’s just the truth. We do not and will not measure up. Our ministries and our marriages will not measure up. (Wow, this is an encouraging devotion!)
But there is freedom in the truth of it. We are not enough, but Christ is. And when God sees us, He sees Christ in us. And with Christ, the Father is well pleased (Matthew 3:17). And this penetrates our lives.
This verse in the NIV reads “those controlled by the sinful nature can not please God.” We have been taken over, infiltrated by the Spirit. The waters of baptism wash over us and drown the flesh, drown the inadequacy, drown the doubt. Truth remains. The new creation is revealed. Christ and the Spirit is alive and well in our ministries and in our marriages. This is what God sees every day. He sees His work in us and in each other.
When ministry doubts and frustrations assail, when marriages struggle and eros wanes, we can remind and encourage our spouse with the truth. God is pleased with us. He loves us. He sees us as wonderfully sufficient in Christ. We no longer need to please everyone, because the One is well pleased.