The Hebrew writer says, "Without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him "(Hebrews 11:6). We see here the necessity of faith if we are going to please God. The value of faith cannot be over estimated. If we are concerned at all about pleasing God, faith is a basic foundational element upon which we must please Him. Since faith is so important to our pleasing God then we must ask, "Does everything man calls faith pleasing and acceptable to God?" The answer is simply, "no." In the world in which we live it is not uncommon for people's concept of faith to be just the idea of mental assent. This is the kind of faith that James was speaking of when he said "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?" (James 2:19-20) Surely, all understand that the faith the devils had will not save, but what kind of faith will please God?.
We learn two things about the kind of faith that pleases God in Hebrews 11:6
1. "Must believe" this is a belief, (firm conviction...trust...assurance) that God exists.
2." Diligently seek Him" the action of seeking after God.
These two elements of faith may be emphasized in different verses, but they never contradict one another. So if we are going to have a faith that pleases God it will not be just faith in His existence, but a faith that motivates us to actively seek His will. Paul in Romans 4 speaks of one that had this kind of biblical, God-pleasing faith, his name was Abraham. God told Abraham to leave his home land...to receive a promised land, that his descendents would become a great nation and that all nations of earth would be blessed through his family. Abraham by faith left his homeland and lived as a pilgrim and sojourner on this earth looking for the promised land. Abraham's faith is described as being strong, not weak and staggering. By his faith he was justified because his faith was not in just the fact that there is a God, but he diligently sought to do the will of God. In Hebrews 11, the writer reminds us of the faith of Abraham; doing what God told him to do, even if it might have seemed by human reasoning to be wrong. His faith was strong; he sought to do what the Lord wanted to be done.
As we have seen in these passages, Biblical faith involves both belief and action. First, Jesus taught this in the sermon on the mount, " Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (Matthew 7:21-23). It is quite clear that those Jesus told to depart had a belief (mental assent) in God, but it was not the Biblical faith that is required to please God. Jesus described this kind of faith that pleases God as the faith that does the Father's will or diligently seeks after Him. James also described the faith that pleases God and saves man as being active, living, working faith and not just mental assent or "faith only" (James 2:14-24).
Let us be zealous to have the kind of faith that saves, which is the faith that comes from God's word (Romans 10:17), more than just a feeling or an impulse, but that which is done in accordance with a "thus saith the Lord." With that kind of faith we can rest assured that we have a faith that pleases God. Anything short of that will cause disappointment and grief. (Matthew 7:22-23; 25:41-46). Let us look to God as those great men of faith in Hebrews 11 and be found with a faith that pleases God.
David A Cox.
via- Gospel Power 3/18/01