Who am I pleasing?

Lectio Divina: Hebrews 11:6 (NLT)

And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

Are you a people-pleaser? People-pleasers are known for doing whatever it takes to make other people happy. Although putting the needs of others ahead of your own may appear altruistic and spiritual, it isn’t biblical, nor is it wise. People-pleasing is not always God-pleasing!

While being kind and helpful is a good thing, when motivated by a desire to be validated or liked, it is detrimental to our mental health and leaves us feeling emotionally depleted, stressed, and anxious. People-pleasers can also have trouble advocating for themselves, which can lead to a harmful pattern of self-neglect.

The Bible does not tell us to please people. It tells us to please God. 

God’s word tells us to think of others, to be kind, and to have a sacrificial love for our neighbor. However, this does not mean we are to think less of ourselves. In fact, it means the opposite. Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:33) We are to love others with the same compassion and self-care we give ourselves. 

It is true. Paul told the Philippians to “… Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.” However, he prefaced this by saying, “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others.” (Philippians 2:3) The motivation for helping others is the key! We serve others not to please them, but to please God. “As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.” (1 Thessalonians 4:1) 

How do we please God? What pleases God? 

In Mark 3:17, the Bible tells us that immediately after John baptized Jesus, “… a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’” God is pleased with his Son! When our life “is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3) God makes the same declaration over us. He is pleased when, by faith, we are in his Son, when we are one in and with Christ Jesus. (John 17:22-23). Without this, it is impossible to please God. 

Prayer: Father, forgive me for trying to please people, for allowing my need for approval and my desire for affirmation to control my actions and motivate my service. Others may not see it, but you do. You search my heart and know me and yet accept and forgive me. I’m so thankful I don’t have to please you to gain your approval because Jesus did that on a cross. Your Son brings you pleasure and in Him I enjoy that same pleasure. I am approved, accepted, and validated in Jesus! (Ephesians 1:3-11) Let this be the only motivation for all that I do and say.

“May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14) 

“And whether I eat or drink or whatever I do, let me do it for your glory.”(Adapted from 1 Corinthians 10:31)

Published by Larry Doyle

Larry began his ministry as a pastor in Kentucky, his native state, while completing his undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate degrees. (1968–1979) From 1980 to 1992, He and his wife, Becky, served in Ecuador, as missionaries with the International Mission Board. Upon returning to North Carolina, Larry pastored the Union Cross Hispanic Baptist Church in Kernersville from 1992 to 1999. In January of 2000, Larry and Becky became volunteer coordinators for Baptist on Mission in Honduras, rebuilding house and churches after the destruction of Hurricane Mitch. Upon returning from Honduras in December 2000, Dr. Doyle became the International Ministries Director for Baptist Metrolina Ministries in Charlotte, NC. In September 2003, He and Becky moved to Greensboro, where he served as Director of Missions for the Piedmont Baptist Association in Greensboro, NC until May 2016. Although retired from vocational missionary service, Larry continues to mentor and disciple men. Currently, he is pastor for Spiritual Formation and Discipleship at Proximity Church in Greensboro, NC.

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