For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.
Focus on Christ
Who do you try to please the most? Do you want to be seen more in the eyes of your spouse, parents, teachers, friends, children, or some other person? Could you say that you really would rather please God more than any or all of these people? That is the point that Paul made to distinguish between his present life in Christ and his former life of trying to convince and please people.
Do you have a desire to gain the esteem of others or of God? Human desire wants to be seen as good to all people at the cost of obedience and submission to God. When your purpose is to please God completely, you have no desire to satisfy or please people.
Many tend to confuse loving people with pleasing people. Loving people requires seeking the best for them according to God’s standard. If the person’s desire is to go their own way, then they will desire for you to give them what they want, not what they need. “For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men” (Romans 14:18). What makes you acceptable to God? Not your background, not your religion, not that you were raised in church, but rather that you are approved by God.
According to Scripture, you are to love God with all your heart and love others as you love yourself. Do you love God with all your heart? Chances are that if you find yourself in the middle of busy activity obeying the desires of all of the people in your life, then you are not loving God but pleasing man. Loving God with all your heart produces righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. This Spirit will love people but not please them. You must ask yourself, “Am I a bondservant of man or of God?” It is not about if you are pleasing to others or to God but if He is pleased with you.
Focus on Self
Self is interested in being accepted by others. Self rarely thinks of what God thinks of it and often thinks of what others think of it. The Christian life is a life of self-denial, a life that doesn’t seek its own. A Christian should desire to be pleasing in the sight of God. Don’t confuse pleasing people with loving them. Deny self and esteem others better than yourself. Love God with all your heart and serve Him, and you will find that you are more interested in what He thinks than in what man thinks.
*Taken from Gifts from God by Kerry Skinner and Alison Veazey. Click here for your copy.
We really can’t do both, can we. Tough lesson.