I want to encourage you: Live for the pleasure of God in all of life.
Here’s our text for the day, Galatians 1:10 (my translation), “Am I now striving to please people or God? Or am I seeking to win favor with people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
The apostle Paul faced the dilemma: would he be firm with the Galatians about the fact that they had abandoned the gospel and risk losing his reputation among them, or would he go easy on them for the purpose of maintaining relationship?
His choice (and the choice God desires us to make) was to stand with the truth of God’s Word even if it costs us.
People-pleasing in its simplest form is an attempt to keep people happy and liking us. The root of people-pleasing is a general fear of what a person will do to you if you don’t please them. Proverbs 29:25 says, “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.” We want to be liked by people. This is good and fine. The problem arises when the primary goal is to maintain our reputation & our friends even at the cost of not pleasing God. We should not be people-pleasers when the cost is the displeasure of God.
People-pleasing can be deadly. This is the reason some failed to believe in Jesus (John 5:43-44). John 12:42-43 is very specific about the danger of people-pleasing,
“Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.”
2 Corinthians 5:9 could be a great life verse, “So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.”
Being a God-pleaser is simply making the choice that in every situation you will honor the Lord despite the consequences that may come from the hand of people.
The lesson to learn from verse 10 is not that the more people you can displease the more spiritual you are. Pleasing God does not equal being a jerk. At a certain level we must accommodate people and seek to please people. The goal in pleasing God is not to alienate people. In fact, listen to 1 Corinthians 10:31-33…
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.”
Pleasing God is never about compromising on the gospel, but it is always about giving up our rights and desires so that others may be saved.
May we always be God-pleasers in our words and actions!