“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.”
How many times a day do you say or do things to get people to like you? If you answered zero, you’re inaccurate. The reality is that most people do it all the time without even realizing it. Whether picking out what clothes to wear in the morning, team uniforms, coaching staff, or saying yes to something we don’t have time for, our motivation is often to be seen highly by the people around us. The desire to be liked, or being a people-pleaser, often guides the smallest to the largest decisions in our life.
People-pleasing is the motivational force that drives a person to make decisions based solely on the level of approval they believe they will receive. Related to people-pleasing are codependency and enabling. Within a biblical framework, people-pleasing borders on idolatry. People-pleasers have learned that it feels good to be liked by others, so they steer their words, motives, and actions in the direction that offers the most approval. On the surface, people-pleasers appear to be selfless, kind, and generous. However, beneath the surface, they are desperately insecure and believe that approval = value.
The difference between Jesus’ unselfish service and the actions of a people-pleaser is one thing, “Motive.”Jesus lived to glorify and obey His Father (John 17:4, 8:29). He loved, gave to and served people, however, He was also not afraid to say what needed to be said, even when people got angry, He wasn’t afraid to say no. He often rebuked people in public for their hypocrisy and lack of faith. He seemed to care little about how well His audience would receive His words. He spoke exactly what needed to be said, even when it led to His death (Mark 15:1–2; John 18:37). Jesus was the opposite of a people-pleaser.
Listen closely: God will not love you anymore today than He does at this very moment. He sees’ you [in] Christ. We are to simply love God and love people, however It is not our job to make people happy. Rather, we are to live in obedience to Christ. Serve the Lord in every way He calls us. Die daily to our own selfish, fleshly desires, and receive our reward from Him (1 Corinthians 4:5). When that is our life goal, we will stop being people-pleasers. I encourage you today, stop trying to win the approval of people. You have an audience of One—Serve Him and Him alone.
Love God. Love People. Live Sent.
Be Worth Being,
Kevin Burrell has worked in professional baseball as both a player and MLB scout for the past 40 years, and currently serves as an area scouting supervisor. Kevin was drafted in the 1st round of the 1981 free agent amateur draft (25th selection overall), and played ten years of professional baseball with four different organizations. He and his wife, Valerie, live in Sharpsburg, Ga.
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