“For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts.” – 1 Thessalonians 2:4
Most people today try to be people pleasers. A basic definition of people pleasers is: “People pleasers yearn for outside validation. Their personal feeling of security and self-confidence is based on getting the approval of others. They worry how others will view them. They fear they’ll be disliked and rejected by a person or group, whether it’s friends, family or co-workers. People pleaser’s happiness is based on other people’s perception of them.” That sounds like most of us to one degree or another since our culture is built around pleasing people.
You try to keep your spouse happy, and your boss and your customer. Whoever your employer is you work to try and make your boss happy and your investors. if you are a parent, you are trying to keep your kids happy and if you are a kid you are trying to keep your parents happy. If you are a TV show or a politician, you are looking for approval ratings. And if you participate in social media, you want likes, comments, posts, re-posts, re-tweets, followers, hits and views. Everyone is trying to please someone. In Galatians 1:10, Paul writes, “Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.”
Is the approval of God better? Romans 5:8 says, “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” God knows the very worst of us and yet loves us anyway. We never could win His approval and yet He sends His only son to die for us. Now that is approval. No approval can ever match it or compare to it. God’s approval is so far superior to anyone else’ that it’s just plain off the chart. One, because we didn’t do anything to earn it.
This sermon series is not so much about who to fear as it is who to trust. We should not focus on people rejecting us because their opinion is temporary, we should be focusing on how God sees us. We can live in this trap of wanting the inconsistent and false approval of other people or we can resign the game and fall back on God’s unconditional love and grace.
The approval of God is what we really want and what we should work toward. Then we don’t care so much about other people’s opinions, because we know that as long as we have God’s approval, that’s all that matters. We get freed from trying to please men and become servants of God, who live for an audience of one, God.
- Whom would you say you’re trying to please on a daily basis? God? Your co-workers? Spouse? Friends?
- How much more of your potential do you think you could reach if you sought the approval of God and no one else?