How can you make God happy? This is the question of righteousness before God. And this question leads to the essential difference between Christianity and every other world religion.
How can you make God happy? How can you be righteous in the sight of God? Ask a Mulsim and they will tell you to follow the Five Pillars. Ask a Jew and they will tell you follow the Torah and tradition. Ask any follower of any religion, and they should be able to give you a descent answer.
But if you ask a Christian they should be dumbfounded. Christians do not have an answer to this question, how do you make God happy. The Christian answer is: "You can't!"
The bedrock foundation of our trust in Jesus Christ is believing that He is the only one who can make God happy. He is the only one who is righteous in the sight of God.
Can you, then, ever be righteous in the sight of God? Yes! But not by doing anything at all. Only by receiving the righteousness of Jesus Christ by faith. We simply trust that Jesus gives us His righteousness and God is overjoyed at that.
What, then, are we to do with the rest of our lives? If we are not working and clawing our way into God'sgood graces, if we are already righteous by faith in Jesus, well, what do we do now?
We are free to serve our neighbor. You see, there are really two kinds of righteousness. There is righteousness before God, which is given to us by faith in Jesus. And there is also righteousness before our neighbor, before the rest of the world. That righteousness comes from serving others, guided by God's Law.
We should not worry in the slightest about making God happy apart from serving our neighbor. It is true that God delights in our service to others if and when it is produced by faith in Jesus. But when we start doing things simply to please God, and not for the sake of our neighbor, then God is not happy with us. It is sort of a catch-22.
No amount of prayers, fasting, pilgrimages, or meditations will make us righteous in the sight of God. Only Jesus can do that. You need not worry.
Only think about how to be righteous in the eyes of your neighbor, those who live with you and around you. Serve them, not worrying at all if God is happy. Trust that God is happy becouse of Jesus and think about what others NEED from you.
[Tomorrow: We stand for Women!]