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
When I was in the eighth grade, I was with a group of students who were all outside playing. Then, I overheard a boy tell one of my friends that he didn’t like me. I was devastated. Now, this boy wasn’t someone I particularly cared for, but the words stung all the same. Someone didn’t like me. To be honest, the concept had never occurred to me before. I went home that afternoon wounded and worked to figure out what I could do differently.
I learned a very important lesson that day: no matter who you are or what you do, you will never be liked by everyone. But, there was a more important lesson I learned as I grew older: the most important opinion to hear is God’s voice, not the voice of people.
If you live your life trying to please everyone, you will fail. Seeking approval from others will only serve to get you in trouble. We must focus on what God sees in us and desires for us. This leads to a life well lived.
So what does God want from us? He wants us to live a life that is pleasing to Him and set apart. He wants us to love our neighbors, love ourselves and to have an attitude of servanthood toward all. He wants us to recognize that we are no better than anyone else. We are equal in His eyes. He wants us to rest in His hope and strength. And more than anything, He wants us to know, that even when we fall short of His standards, He loves us unconditionally.
In all of us, there is a girl or boy wanting to be liked. This is not bad in itself. The danger comes when we make those opinions count more than what God thinks. God views us the same each and every day. We are His beloved creations, made in His image. There is nothing that can separate us from His love.
1. In what ways have you gotten caught in the trap of “people pleasing”? How have you seen this hinder your relationship with the Lord?
2. In your life, are there people who you expect to “perform” for your love? How can you show others the grace and love of Jesus?
Psalm 44; 1 Corinthians 13:1-7; 1 Thessalonians 2:4-6