But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
This verse, if preached with a heavy hand of religion, comes with a dose of guilt, condemnation, fear and a host of other things trying to attach to your life. This verse can then make you feel like you just can't cut it, can't measure up, sooooo...you can't be pleasing to God. There is an undertone, when preached religiously, that makes this verse a template of performance for your Christian life. You do, you perform, and you seek faith in order TO be pleasing to God. If you happen to be hit with this on a day when you are struggling, weary, or downcast, you can't seem to measure up to the thought of trying to get God's attention.
Look at this verse in the shining light of grace and God's love for you in Christ Jesus. You can't muster up enough faith in your own efforts to be pleasing to God. You already are pleasing to God in Christ. On good days, bad days, or any day in between, in your salvation in Christ, you are pleasing to a Father who loves you unconditionally and with great passion.
So how do I look at this verse? Without faith it is impossible to please God. Faith in what? You can't have faith in faith, faith in your good efforts, faith in your performance, faith in church attendance, faith in good moral behavior, faith in anything you do is not enough to actually make God love you or be pleased with you. It is not the substance of faith that pleases God but in whom you have faith in that pleases Him. Without faith in the glorious reality of Christ Jesus, it is impossible to please God. In Christ, in your salvation, you are totally unconditionally pleasing to Him.
With a faith in Christ and the finished work of the cross, you are pleasing to God and He delights in you with a love that is profound and deep and unconditional. If you have faith in Christ, you are, right NOW pleasing to God. You may look at yourself and see yourself as anything but pleasing to God but it is because of the reality of Christ in you that God bestows great love upon you. It is not because of what you do. Jesus did it all on the cross. Just enter into this reality.
It is also not because of some great faith in yourself or in your accomplishments or endeavors in which you seek to attract God's attention. It is Jesus Christ. In Him, we are pleasing to God. In faith in Him, we walk in faith with a focus on He who is faithful in His perfection, Christ Jesus. You are acceptable in the beloved. Rest in that reality!