A couple of weeks ago, I heard a sermon on longing for approval by Craig Groeshel. I didn’t think I had any issues in this area, but the more I thought about it the more I realized I was a people pleaser. I wanted my parent’s approval when I was growing up. I wanted my friends to like me and to fit into their circle. But what about now? Do I still want to please others? Yes, I care what others think of me. I even care if people read my posts or my newsletters. I want people to like me. Is this so wrong? Yes, it is.
The Pastor pointed out from Scripture (Proverbs 29:25), it’s a snare that actually leads people into idolatry. If we care more for others opinion than we do for God’s, then we are actually putting people ahead of God, which is idolatry. Oh boy. I wasn’t expecting that. People are fickle. Why would I try to please fickle people? Why would I seek another person’s favor when God’s favor is the best? It’s more important what God thinks about me than what other people think about me. If I am living like I should, which is pleasing to God then others will not like me.
Jesus is a divider. He didn’t come to make a peaceful world. He came to shake up the world. He brought peace, but most denied Him. They were not looking for peace. He separates love from hate. He separates light from dark. He took the old and made something new. He took the old covenant and made a new one. He took a promise from God and fulfilled it. If others did not like Jesus, then we will not be liked by others if we follow His teachings. His teachings were hard. Most of His followers left Him. Only a handful remained at the end of His life on earth. But who did remain, fulfilled their mission. They made Jesus known in their world. He was made known all the way to my heart.
I am left with the dilemma. Do I chose to follow Jesus or do I follow people? Who do I please? Who do I worship? Okay, it’s not much of a choice. I choose God. But if I choose God, then I need to carry the mission in my world. It’s going to be hard. That’s okay. Jesus died for me and that was hard on His part. Praise God – it’s all about Him! It’s time to be bold in the name of Jesus and quit playing it safe. I can’t please everybody, but I can please God!
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10 (ESV)