Infested with cancer and needing to get medical treatment right away, a business owner decides it would be better to keep her business open for fear of disappointing her patrons. ”One more year,” she thinks to herself. Because of the nature of her business she believes she must postpone cancer treatment because it would impair her ability to execute her job responsibilities.
As I’m hearing this story, I’m in disbelief. Why would someone ignore such an incredible health threat? I ask her a few more questions. It seems the only answer is that she didn’t want to upset her existing customers. Wowza! She may be literally “dying to please people.”
This is an extreme and literal circumstance; however, I think some of us are “dying” to please others in a spiritual way. We may be “killing” :
- our beliefs about Jesus in order to please those who don’t believe in Him
- family relationships because of our inability to make a needed decision since the decision could hurt someone’s feelings
- our dreams, because others think they’re foolish or unachievable
- our friendships, by being two-faced in an effort to please two or more people with differing opinions
When we put pleasing others as our highest priority, we can be sure something good is ‘dying’ as a result.
In contrast to the way the world lives to please man, God calls us to please Him. The very reason we were created was for His pleasure and His glory, not for our own. (Isaiah 43:7-9)
There are blessings for those who please God:
“To the person who pleases Him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner He gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” -Ecclesiastes 2:26 New International Version (NIV)
You cannot please God if you are walking ‘according to your flesh’ (living for your own pleasure, for your own will). You must be made new by the Holy Spirit, which you receive when you are born-again (when you put your faith in the work Jesus did on the cross on your behalf):
“The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.”Romans 8:7-9 New International Version (NIV)
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10 (NIV)
Is your priority pleasing God or pleasing others? Do you need to “die” to pleasing others so that you can truly please God, and live your life for His glory? Ask that the Holy Spirit would convict you of living to satisfy yourself and others, and ask Him to give you His heart and fill you with His Spirit so that you can live for Him….which will give you the greatest pleasure of all!
Written by Jamie Shaver