Pleasing God Above People
For my whole life I was a people pleaser, but in the last 5 years in my walk with the Lord, I learned that is not pleasing to God. We are to please God above people, not vice versa. God calls us to help others, but there is a difference between helping someone in need and bending over backwards to please them and make them happy. When you make pleasing people more important than pleasing God, then you are forgetting your purpose as a child of God. God did not create any of us to be people pleasers, but to serve and to please Him. You may lose some friendships when you put God above others, but the right people will stay in your life. When your life is pleasing to God, He will help remove the wrong people from your life who are hindering your walk with the Lord and will place people in your life who will help you. God will also send people to you for you to help them with their walk with the Lord.
But please do not make the same mistake I did in trying to help someone else before you are steady and firm in your faith. The people you seek to help will be looking at your life, your attitude and behavior, your words and actions – at everything – to see how you conduct yourself. If you are telling or encouraging them in one area but they see you doing the opposite of what you say, then that will confuse them and turn them off to the Lord, and possibly to you. Heed the Lord’s warning from Matthew 7:3-5: “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend (brother/sister in Christ), ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye?” Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to help deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” I wish I had actually taken this warning into consideration, maybe then I would not have lost someone dear to me and maybe he would still be following the Lord instead of straying so far from Him the way he has. This relates to pleasing God because it does not please Him when we are at least in part, responsible for someone being led astray by confusing them. We try so desperately to please God that we end up making a colossal mistake. So let us follow carefully the instructions, commands, warnings, and advice the Lord and God give to us in Scripture. This way we will be doing what pleases God.
Matthew 10:28 tells us not to worry about people who have the ability to kill our physical bodies, for they can’t touch our souls. Instead, we are to fear God, who can destroy both soul and body in Hell.
There are more verses below that warn against seeking the approval of (or being concerned about the approval of) people above God. There are more in the Book of Proverbs, especially in chapters 10-31 both about the consequences of pleasing others instead of God, and on ways that please God and I encourage you all to read through the whole Book. Chapters 1-4 deal with how to attain spiritual wisdom and understanding, so those are definitely worth looking at too if your objective is to please God and to attain wisdom in the process. We are told in Proverbs 3:5-6 to “lean not on your own understanding, but to trust God and to seek His will in all that we do.”
Galatians 1:10 ESV
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.
But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.
Proverbs 29:25 ESV
The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.
John 12:43 ESV
For they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.
Colossians 3:23 ESV
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men
Acts 5:29 ESV
But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.”
Isaiah 2:22 ESV
Stop regarding man in whose nostrils is breath, for of what account is he?
So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please Him.
Galatians 2:20 ESV
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
John 5:44 ESV
How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?
Romans 12:1-2 ESV
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
We are obedient to God when we honor His command to love one another, but we must learn to love them the way we are told to instead of making them our whole world and making pleasing others our top priority so nobody gets hurt. It is painful to hurt someone we care about when we have to either say something to them they don’t want to hear and can or will hurt them, but it is far worse for both of you if you do not tell them what God has instructed you to tell them, or to fail to do what God instructed you to do where the other person is concerned, regarding their reckless behavior or something specifically they are saying or doing that they need to stop doing before it is too late for them to repent and turn back to God to be saved. Remember this though: it is only our responsibility as Christ’s followers to warn them, or to plant the seeds and/or to water them. God is the only One who has the ability to make those godly seeds planted inside them to grow (1 Corinthians 3:6-8). In other words: we are to love others, including our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48), and to help guide them on God’s path, but, we must be sure that we are in a stable place in our own faith where we can effectively do that, and we must be sure that our objective is to please God and not put priority over the other person. God is to be number 1 in our hearts and in every area of our lives, and we must show works of faith too, in order to please Him.
Read James chapter 2 and Hebrews 11 to read more about showing our faith in the actions we take. Our actions either show that we have faith in God, which pleases Him, or shows a lack of faith which grieves Him. He wants us to fully trust, love, awe, honor, and obey Him, willingly, because we want to. The LORD wants a close, intimate relationship with each and every one of us, and Scripture tells us how that is made possible and how to maintain the intimate connection, and how to make it grow stronger, once it has been made through our faith in action (repenting, confessing Jesus as our Lord and Savior after hearing God’s word and deciding to believe it completely, being baptized in the name of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, and then daily taking up our crosses to follow Jesus). Jesus outlines in the Gospels what the cost of following Him is, and the requirements for being His disciple. When we follow these instructions, we please God. He warns us against loving our mother, father, sister, brother, child, or anyone else above Him (read Matthew 10:37-39 and Matthew 16:24-27). We are to love Jesus the most in order to please God. And Hebrews 11:6 tells us “it is impossible to please God without faith”, and when we have faith in God, we will naturally want to please God, and will learn to make pleasing Him more important than pleasing others.
The right people, even if they are hurt at the beginning, will come around and accept God’s truth. As for everyone else, God tells us not to worry about them. Once we have done what we are commanded or called to do, it is in God’s hands. Let us then decide today to make every effort to please God above everything else and to seek His will in all we say and do, and in our attitudes and behavior. Let us decide to love God with all of our hearts, minds, soul, and strength (Mark 12:30) -> with our whole being. If any of us here have trouble doing that, let us come to the throne of our loving and merciful God in prayer and ask Him and His Holy Spirit to give us the help we need to show our love for Him, to equip us with all we need to obey Him, and any other areas we need help with. God is just and faithful and He will give us the help we need when our goal is to please Him. God loves all of you unconditionally. He will gladly help you where you are in need of His help. May God’s peace be with you and may You feel his love in your hearts.