Dangers of “people-pleasing”


The Bible talks about man-pleasers and God-pleasers. Surely we have all heard the term “people-pleaser” as well. I would go so far as to say some of us are more prone to being “people-pleasers” than others. I know this from personal experience because I am one of those “people”. I know that deep down I want others to “like” me or I want to please them, and often both consciously or subconsciously my actions can be determined by this.

Interestingly enough, today in John, Jesus goes deeper than just labeling someone as a “people-pleaser”. Jesus speaks to the Pharisees, and tells them that they are so wrapped up in gaining one another’s “approval” or to accept praise from one another they clearly have no time and make no effort to please God whatsoever. They are so intent on “people-pleasing” with each other and those around them, it was a barrier to believing and pleasing God.

The fact that Pharisees are trying to impress and please those around them is no surprise to me. I doubt it is to you either. What strikes me today in Scripture is the phrase in the verse about “accepting” praise from others…and yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from God.” I have often considered and prayed that I would be a “God-pleaser” more than a “man-pleaser”. But, the wording in this verse seemed to bring to light in a different way what it means to be a God-pleaser. A true God-pleaser would make the effort to obtain praise from God. Think about this. This would determine my actions. If I actually considered each step I took-whether God would be pleased or rejoice in it, how much in my life would change? Perhaps I would be less apt to complain about the construction that slows me down when I am driving on Route 7. Complaining is NOT pleasing to God. I think I might look for ways when I was in Walgreens to share a smile with one more person or let someone go out the door first before me. I might let someone pull out in front of me who is waiting to go somewhere. These are little ways I could surely please God.

Spiritually, as God sees us through Christ, He is already pleased with us because of what Christ did. But, as we become more like Christ, our actions will line up with those of Christ and we know God already said to Him “This is my son in whom I am well-pleased.” Today is a good day to consider if we are so busy seeking approval or praise from those around us, that our belief in God is hindered. Is it possible we could care less about whether HE approves and is pleased by our choices, actions and words? May He continue to transform us into people in “whom He is well-pleased”.

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