Who Are We to Please?

Have you ever been guilty of being a “people pleaser’? I am sure that we have all struggled with pleasing people at one time or another. The apostle Paul was once a people pleaser.  His desire at one time in his life was to learn all he could of the sect of the Pharisees. He set at the feet of Gamaliel and desired to know the traditions of the Jews so that he could please men. He was totally against Christians. But, God saved him and from that time on, he didn’t care about pleasing people. Many people fight against God, because when God saves people, they can no longer be people pleasers.

As we consider the issue of pleasing people, let’s answer a couple of questions. The first question: “Is it wrong to be a people pleaser?” Answer: Primarily, our goal should be to please God, because He commands us to love Him first and then to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. So, it’s not wrong to please others if God is pleased.

The next question is: “When is it wrong to be a people-pleaser?”

When you act different based on the crowd—this is so easy to do but it is not right. If we are not focused, we will act and speak according to who we are with. We should strive to act the same regardless of those around us. By doing so, we are being true to ourselves.

When it is because of insecurity –people often act different so that others will like them. We need to be true to ourselves, being who we really are. If we act a certain way just for others to like us, most likely the relationship will not last. In other words, don’t compromise the truth in order to score points that really don’t matter.

When you remain silent when you should be speaking up- this is so easy to do as well. Rather than speaking up against something that is not right or standing up for someone who is being bashed, it is easier to keep quiet. However, we should be willing to speak the truth and do so in a spirit of love rather than trying to be a people pleaser. I am convinced that there are times, even when it is uncomfortable, that we need to speak up.

-When it causes you to be ashamed of Jesus- We read in Mark 8:38-“Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” Our desire to please others should never outweigh our love and obedience to Christ.

When it causes others to stumble- we need to remember that others are watching us live out our life. Our lives are not lived in secret. Could it be that in our attempt to please one person, we are actually causing many to stumble?

There are times that we need to do all that we can to please others. Spouses should strive to please one another, children should desire to please their parents, friends should desire to please their friends and employees should work to please their employers. However, our desire to please others should not be at the expense of being a living testimony for Jesus Christ.



A Friend

Would you consider yourself to be a friend? Do you have people in your life that you would call your friend? You may be wondering what it means to be a friend. A friend is a person with whom you can be yourself. That’s right, you can be yourself. A friend doesn’t expect you to be better or worse and when you are with a friend, you don’t have to put up your guard. A friend is a person who understands you and allows you to laugh with them, cry with them, sing with them and they are willing to tolerate you through all of your downfalls. I guess you could sum up a friend as one who sees who you really are and they still love you. Henry Durbanville said that a friend is the “first person who comes in when the whole world goes out”.

The following questions were posed to a group of people in an attempt to help them identify true friends. Who are the five wealthiest people in the world? Who won the last five Heisman trophies? Who are ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize? Who won the last ten World Series? After thinking about the above questions and realizing they didn’t know the answers, the following questions were asked to the group. Who is the teacher who aided you during your school journey? Who are three people who have come to your side during difficult times? Who are five people who have taught you something worthwhile? Who are five people who make you feel special? Who are the people you enjoy spending time with? The people who are making the difference in your life are those who care about you. In other words, you are important to them. Likewise, the people that you care for are the people with whom you are making a difference.

To enhance your friendship with others, you should be committed to the friendship. You should always express your appreciation to your friends by your words and actions. People need to feel appreciated. You should keep your conversations positive even when you have to speak words that may seem hard. Also, value the time that you spend together. Your time may not be just about your needs. Your time spent with others should make an everlasting difference in their lives. You should also be sure to encourage your friends on their spiritual journey. Spend time praying with them and for them, spend time sharing with them and worshipping with them. These are a just few simple guidelines that will help us be a true friend.

“There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24).


What’s In Your Hand?

What do you have in your hand? As you are now looking at your hands, you are probably wondering why I would ask such a question. Sometimes it may be necessary to actually look at what we are holding in our hands, but I would suggest that you look a bit further than your hands. Another way of asking the question would be to ask, “What has God already given to you?” Instead of focusing on what you don’t have or comparing yourself with others, look at what you already have.

I love to read the story in Scripture when God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Immediately, Moses started making excuses that he was not the man and the people wouldn’t listen to him anyway. Moses was holding a rod, a shepherd’s staff, in his hand and the Lord asked him, “What’s in your hand?” Next, God told him to throw it on the ground. He did and the staff became a snake. My response would have probably been that of Moses, he fled away from the snake. The Lord then told him to take hold of it by its tail. Moses obeyed and the snake became a staff again. The Lord wanted Moses to understand that regardless of his supposed limitations, God was with him.

Many of us, like Moses, tend to focus on what we don’t have rather than on what we do have. Maybe that is where your focus is today. Your life is being driven by unrealistic limitations that you have placed on God and yourself. Once again, I want to ask you, “What’s in your hand?”

Maybe you are thinking that your life would be better if you had more money, better car, more time, another job, bigger house, lived in another city—the list could go on and on.

Rather than waiting to get what you think you need, what if you started noticing what you already have. Look at the potential that already exists in your life. Do you have money? Spend it wisely! Do you have a job? Give thanks to God for it and do your best! Do you have love? Start showing your love to others! Do you have a smile? Start smiling! Do you have a good word? Start speaking into the lives of others! Do you have kindness? Start being kind to others! Do you have children? Start spending quality time with them! Do you have a house? Start inviting others in for a visit! The list could go on and on.

Don’t let your life be limited by what you think you don’t have. Take note of “What you already have in your hand.”