Disneyland and Disney World—the whole world of Disney—have been built on quality control. That principle began with Walt Disney, who inspired deep loyalty in his employees. One of his associates, Stormy Palmer, said, “Walt’s inspiration and enthusiasm made over-achievers of all of us at the studio. You wanted to please him. Walt was more than a boss. He was like a father to me.”
People work diligently to produce quality work because they want to please someone above them. It’s the same with a quality life—we want to please Someone above us. And that’s the secret of virtue—the quality- control division of morality and character. In its essence, it’s a desire to please our heavenly Father.
In John 8, our Lord was having a discussion with His critics, the Pharisees, who resented the quality of His life because His moral excellence was visibly superior to theirs. And so He told them His secret. He said in verses 28 and 29: “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. And He who sent me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.” The secret to Jesus’ virtue was His singular focus on pleasing His Father.
Likewise, in John 5:30, Jesus said, “I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.”
Now, here is the fascinating thing. On two different occasions at dif- ferent phases of Jesus’ earthly life, God the Father spoke audibly from heaven with the same essential message: He was pleased with Jesus Christ and the life He was living on earth.
The first time God audibly expressed His pleasure with Jesus was in Matthew 3, when Jesus was baptized. When our Lord came up out of the water, the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit descended like a dove and rested on Him, “and suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased'” (v. 17).
God the Father knew Jesus’ life from His birth until that point. He had watched as Jesus was laid in the manger. He saw Jesus grow through childhood until age twelve, when the boy Jesus tarried in Jerusalem wanting to be about His Father’s business. His omniscient eyes took in every day of our Lord’s teenage years as He grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man. He watched the Lord enter the field of carpentry, building houses and buildings, and He saw Him lay aside His hammer and trowel to enter the ministry. Now, as Jesus began His official work at His baptism, the entire Trinity merged together to affirm the moral quality and virtue of Jesus.
God the Son in the waters of baptism; God the Spirit from the parted heavens; and God the Father pronouncing the truth about the excellence of a well-lived thirty years, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Let me pause here to say something to the dads and moms and grandparents reading this: the heavenly Father is giving us an example to follow. I don’t want to use the word pride here to characterize God, but in human terms you can almost sense a tone of, well, satisfaction and pleasure in God’s voice. This is My beloved Son. I am so pleased with Him.
Our own children need to hear similar words from us. A child’s self image is largely based on their perception of what their parents think of them. I know we can overdo it and brag on our children too much, but most of us err in the other direction. We don’t give our children the affirmation they need.
Recently my first grandson graduated from college. He did it in three years and with honors. I left the church where I pastor in the care of others for that weekend because I wanted to be there for him at the ceremony. I wanted to look him in the eye and tell him how proud I am of him.
Wess Stafford, who for many years was president of Compassion International, wrote, “I happen to believe that children carry with them at all times a little invisible chalkboard, a blank slate that they hold up to us saying essentially, ‘Please tell me something. Something about myself. Something about my life, my world.’ Sometimes we miss their silent pleas for affirmation.”
Incidentally, the reverse is also true. We don’t often mention it, but parents need to know that our children are proud of us too. In 2019, Tiger Woods won the Masters Tournament after years of failed attempts, not to mention scandals and humiliations. As soon as the tournament was over, a reporter asked what his children said to him when he won. Tiger said he couldn’t hear them because everyone was screaming, but he added, “I think—well, I hope, I hope they are proud of me. I hope they are proud of their dad.”
When was the last time you expressed your appreciation and esteem for those nearest you? “I’m so pleased you’re my wife.” “I’m so proud you’re my mom.” “Son, I’m proud of you.” What power in these words!
When the heavenly Father affirmed Jesus and told others how pleased He was with Him, He also showed us how to affirm our own children and loved ones. We’re to let the world know we’re proud of those we love. Nothing builds a person’s confidence more than that.
This is an adaptation from Dr. Jeremiah’s latest book, “Everything You Need.”
Dr. David Jeremiah is among the best known Christian leaders in the world. He serves as senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California and is the founder and host of Turning Point. Turning Point’s 30-minute radio program is heard on more than 2,200 radio stations daily. A New York Times bestselling author and Gold Medallion winner, he has written more than fifty books.
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