“Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand.” — Mark Twain
PLEASING MEN, SERVING CHRIST
“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ” Galatians 1:10
I’ll confess this right up front: I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to please people. However, I’m not really a people pleaser. Let me explain.
A people pleaser is one who does everything they can to make those around them feel comfortable and accepted. They go out of their way to serve others, smooth over difficulties and meet the expectations of those around them, even if those expectations are unwarranted, selfish or just plain silly. They habitually give in to those around them in fear of upsetting them, and constantly put their own needs aside to meet the needs of others, even if the others never show gratitude for the sacrifice.
No, I’m not a people pleaser.
However, I do try to please people. How? Through my writing and teaching. Let me try to explain what God has been trying to explain to me.
About a year ago, I found myself hanging out in church after I finished preaching. As I was picking up my Bible and notes, I felt God speak to my heart. “Jim, the only reason you are lingering is so you may hear somebody compliment you on your sermon.”
Okay. That hurt. But God was right. I wasn’t teaching the Word primarily to bring God glory and see lives changed. I was preaching because I wanted to feel the ego buzz I got when somebody complimented me about my sermon.
I’ve found the same thing to be true since I starting blogging. I’m constantly checking my blog stats to see how many people have visited my site. I’m anxious to see who left comments and what they had to say. Even when I’ve written an article for my denominational magazine, I could hardly wait for friends to tell me how much they enjoyed it.
Even though I understand why I seek the approval of men, it doesn’t make it any easier. A few years ago, my wife and I read The Five Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman. He says that everyone has a particular way they know they are loved, and he calls this a love language. The five love languages Dr. Chapman has observed are Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service and Physical Touch. My wife’s love language is Quality Time. Can you guess mine? Yep. Words of Affirmation. Mark Twain must have had the same love language, for he said, “I can live two months on a good compliment.” I can go about two days.
Now you know why this Scripture bothers me. Unlike Paul, I’m still trying to please men, and this sometimes comes at the expense of being a servant of Christ. Now, Paul wasn’t saying he was never concerned about pleasing people, for at times he did his best to do just that (1 Corinthians 9:19-22). He was saying he did not try to please men as opposed to pleasing God. Given the choice between pleasing men and pleasing God, Paul chose God every time. I haven’t always been so successful.
I’m not a people pleaser; I’m a Jim pleaser, and I think that is worse. However, the good news is I only have one person I need to disappoint in order to focus my attentions on God. But that’s okay. I’ll get over it.
I think that at some level, we ALL struggle with this. I’m so thankful for His grace, and for His Holy Spirit who is constantly teaching… guiding… convicting… comforting. I would so love for there to be less of me and more of Him.
I’m a Paula pleaser for sure. I’ve always considered myself a “people pleaser” but thanks be to your post, the record has been set straight. I’m a down right “Paula pleaser”…sigh. Words of affirmation must be my language too. Thanks for another eye opening post. May I live to please others and not my self. Amen!
The fear of man will become a snare, but those who trust in the Lord will be kept safe…Proverbs 29:25
This scripture is underlined in ALL my Bibles!! Can you tell there is an issue here,,praise God He is greater in me, than this flesh that tries to please and seek other’s approvals!!
Great devotional. POWERFUL!!!!!
That is a beautiful verse. Very simple and clear. It’s all about God.
“If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ”
I’m not a pastor, but I bet it is sometimes a challenge to balance spoken truth against paying the bills. Sure wouldn’t want to offend a heavy tither. I say that in jest with a bit of truth rolled in.
As for checking the “blog-o-meter”. I do it every time I log on. That is many times during the day. I suppose it feeds my ego a bit, but more importantly it gives me a gage against my dream.
That dream or vision is to “maximize my impact for Christ in the shortest amount of time”. I believe technology can be a tool to help me reach the dream God has put on my heart.
Excellent Excellent Excellent!
I feel you 100% and face the same challenges except for the preaching part. I think in some way we also want to know that we are relevant. If we get no feedback – then unless we get a word from God that we please Him in such and such way, how else do you know?
I tell you something else too… when I check my blog stats and wonder why some piece I wrote that I may feel is important only attracted 5 readers, instead of being discouraged I write for the few, the one who it may make a difference for. And i realize too that my words may make a difference and someone may not say anything at all. That’s cool too.
Most of all I found that with blogging, I am doing it for the love of expression, the love of the craft of writing, and to make a positive contribution with words which have within them life and death.
So it’s all good. If we know what motivates us and can listen to our spirits when god speaks through – then we can at least face ourselves head on and not be deceived.
Thanks Jim – I love your transparancy. It really does make a difference – so be encouraged and please keep writing.
Liked your post. I can definitely relate to being a people pleaser and “Tom” pleaser both. Although, I am wondering if I am not enabling you (Jim) somewhat by responding to your post(Half Joking). We are wired in different ways as you pointed out with reference to Gary Chapman. I too love words of afirmation, but want to learn to to get that afirmation-love from GOD’S word! As is the christian life this is a journey and and i continually in seeing how He(GOD) is the only thing stable in my life.
Thanks for your words of affirmation. And yes, you did enable me, but that is what those love languages are for!! Blessings on your journey, and I know God will continue to show you He is the only stable thing in your life.
I pay a quick visit day-to-day some web sites and sites to read content, however this
webb site provides quality based writing.