Pleasing People

The lure of pleasing people is insidious.

In Mark 8:33, Christ made crystal clear the answer to the competing priorities of pleasing people versus pleasing God. Speaking to Peter He replied, “Get behind Me, Satan! For you do not have a mind intent on promoting what God wills, but what pleases men [you are not on God’s side, but that of men].”

Concert Crowd (Osheaga 2009) - 30000 waiting f...Clearly, Christ’s point was that if our goal is to please people, then we are supporting Satan’s agenda. Yikes.

If we are not to please people, then what are we to do with them? Jesus announced in John 13:34 His new command in regards to people: love them.

Exchanging love within the body of Christ is His command, giving His love and receiving His love. By this love the world knows that we belong to Him and He is glorified.

But aren’t pleasing people and loving them the same thing? No, they are not.

Pleasing people is of the enemy, allowing flesh to lead you in your interactions with them. On the contrary, loving people is of God, allowing Christ alone to lead you in your interactions with them.

Our ultimate example of love is Jesus Christ. He IS love (1 John 4:16) and profiled in 1 Corinthians 13:1-13. But we know that God’s love and agenda are not always rainbows and butterflies. Look at the cross. Love can and must be tough. Love must enforce boundaries. Love must do the will of God at any cost.

Jesus sometimes left people feeling hurt, sad or angry because He chose in love to do the Father’s will. Following God, He left people to deal with their issues and make their own decisions (Matt. 3:7; Luke 18:21-23, 10:33-35, 10:40-42; John 3:4-5).

When we choose to love people according to God’s holy ways, they may be pleased or hurt or angry with us. But their issues and reactions are not our responsibilities.

Rich Young Ruler
A powerful illustration of God’s love we have from Christ Himself in Mark 10:17-22 when Jesus adresses the rich young ruler. A key verse here is 21a, “Jesus looked at him and loved him.” This verse indicates that in this scene, Jesus possessed love for the man he encountered and acted on it. We must examine his actions to understand this type of love.

17As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’
 20“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
 22At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Before Jesus the rich young ruler fell on his knees seeking eternal life. This man was so religious that he believed he had kept the law since he was a boy, like Paul did. Interesting was Jesus’ response to him as He looked beyond the kneeling to the heart. He knew the man loved money (Matt. 6:24) and this love (idol) kept him from heaven.

In verse 21, before Christ addressed the money issue we see His act of love for the man foreshadowed, “Jesus looked at him and loved him.”

And then what did Jesus do to love him? He dropped a bomb of truth on him, instructing him to sell all he owned and give to the poor then to follow. Jesus made his point clearly and succinctly so that the man knew exactly what he would have to do to enter heaven. There was no question that laying down the idol of money was required.

How did the man respond? His face fell in sorrow and he walked away. He felt sorrow because he knew he loved money more than heaven and thus was unable to find eternal life (Luke 16:13). Notice that Jesus did not say another word. He did not try to persuade, beg, negotiate or argue with him. As we can see, with Jesus love and truth bombs often go hand-in-hand (Eph. 4:15). True love doesn’t beat around the bush.

Samaritan
The principle of loving others is also illustrated in the Samaritan going out of his way to care for the wounded traveler taking him to an innkeeper and promising to repay him for expenses incurred (Luke 10:33-35). Then the Samaritan left the wounded man with the innkeeper. We don’t know what the victim’s response was to being left there. But we do know that the Samaritan didn’t initially pay more than two days wage nor did he cancel his plans nor ask him to come along on his trip nor move in with him. After the brief detour to help, the Samaritan continued on his way.

Furthermore, the love principle is illustrated in the fact that we are called to obey our parents, but only until we are adults (Eph. 6:1). After that we are called to honor them (Matt. 19:19). As adults, we can honor our parents, and in so doing love them by saying no to them when they expect us to obey them or when they seek to control us. Although we know they may mean well, as healthy adults we must make our decisions based on our faithfulness to God and not to them (Matt. 19:29).

~For his own good, a raging alcoholic must stop wreaking havoc in the home and face a family intervention or jail.

~A lazy teenager must stop wasting his life or face boarding school.

~A controlling friend must stop interfering in your life or face losing your friendship.

None of these people feel pleased about the love they encounter. Yet, tough love is exactly what they need. Love enables them to grow and prevents them from inhibiting growth in others. Most importantly, it frees them and the people around them to follow God’s calling.

Pleasing people and loving them are as opposite as darkness and light. The enemy can use well-intended people to detour us from the path to which God has clearly called us. When they do, we must remember Christ’s words. Firmly and respectfully declining their advances, we must stay on course and choose to please God and not men (Joshua 24:15).

Luke 16:13
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

Mark 8:33
But turning around [His back to Peter] and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, Get behind Me, Satan! For you do not have a mind intent on promoting what God wills, but what pleases men [you are not on God’s side, but that of men].

Mark 10:17-22
17As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’
20“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Galatians 1:10
Now am I trying to win the favor of men, or of God? Do I seek to please men? If I were still seeking popularity with men, I should not be a bond servant of Christ (the Messiah).

1 Thessalonians 2:4
But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the glad tidings (the Gospel), so we speak not to please men but to please God, Who tests our hearts [expecting them to be approved].

Matthew 6:24
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

John 13:34
I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another.

John 13:35
By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves].

John 15:12
This is My commandment: that you love one another [just] as I have loved you.

John 15:17
This is what I command you: that you love one another.

Ephesians 4:15
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.

Matthew 3:7
But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee and escape from the wrath and indignation [of God against disobedience] that is coming?

1 John 4:16
And we know (understand, recognize, are conscious of, by observation and by experience) and believe (adhere to and put faith in and rely on) the love God cherishes for us. God is love, and he who dwells and continues in love dwells and continues in God, and God dwells and continues in him.

John 3:4-5
Nicodemus said to Him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter his mother’s womb again and be born?
Jesus answered, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, unless a man is born of water and [even] the Spirit, he cannot [ever] enter the kingdom of God.

Ephesians 6:1
CHILDREN, OBEY your parents in the Lord [as His representatives], for this is just and right.

Matthew 19:19
Honor your father and your mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself.

Matthew 19:29
And anyone and everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for My name’s sake will receive many [even a hundred] times more and will inherit eternal life.

Luke 18:21-23
And he replied, All these I have kept from my youth.
And when Jesus heard it, He said to him, One thing you still lack. Sell everything that you have and [a]divide [the money] among the poor, and you will have [rich] treasure in heaven; and come back [and] follow Me [become My disciple, join My party, and accompany Me].
But when he heard this, he became distressed and very sorrowful, for he was rich–exceedingly so.

Luke 10:33-35
But a certain Samaritan, as he traveled along, came down to where he was; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity and sympathy [for him],
And went to him and dressed his wounds, pouring on [them] oil and wine. Then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn and took care of him.
And the next day he took out two denarii [two day’s wages] and gave [them] to the innkeeper, saying, Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I [myself] will repay you when I return.

Luke 10:40-42
But Martha [overly occupied and too busy] was distracted with much serving; and she came up to Him and said, Lord, is it nothing to You that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me [to lend a hand and do her part along with me]!
But the Lord replied to her by saying, Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things;
There is need of only one or but a few things. Mary has chosen the good portion [that which is to her advantage], which shall not be taken away from her.

Joshua 24:15
And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Luke 10:31-35
Jesus, taking him up, replied, A certain man was going from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him of his clothes and belongings and beat him and went their way, [unconcernedly] leaving him half dead, as it happened.
Now by coincidence a certain priest was going down along that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
A Levite likewise came down to the place and saw him, and passed by on the other side [of the road].
But a certain Samaritan, as he traveled along, came down to where he was; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity and sympathy [for him],
And went to him and dressed his wounds, pouring on [them] oil and wine. Then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn and took care of him.
And the next day he took out two denarii [two day’s wages] and gave [them] to the innkeeper, saying, Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I [myself] will repay you when I return.

1 Corinthians 13:1-13
IF I [can] speak in the tongues of men and [even] of angels, but have not love (that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such [a]as is inspired by God’s love for and in us), I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
And if I have prophetic powers ([b]the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I have [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love (God’s love in me) I am nothing (a useless nobody).
Even if I dole out all that I have [to the poor in providing] food, and if I surrender my body to be burned or [c] in order that I may glory, but have not love (God’s love in me), I gain nothing.
Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.
It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].
It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.
Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].
Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]. As for prophecy ([d]the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), it will be fulfilled and pass away; as for tongues, they will be destroyed and cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away [it will lose its value and be superseded by truth].
For our knowledge is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect), and our prophecy (our teaching) is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect).
But when the complete and perfect (total) comes, the incomplete and imperfect will vanish away (become antiquated, void, and superseded).
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; now that I have become a man, I am done with childish ways and have put them aside.
For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim (blurred) reflection [of reality as [e]in a riddle or enigma], but then [when perfection comes] we shall see in reality and face to face! Now I know in part (imperfectly), but then I shall know and understand [f]fully and clearly, even in the same manner as I have been [g]fully and clearly known and understood [[h]by God].
And so faith, hope, love abide [faith–conviction and belief respecting man’s relation to God and divine things; hope–joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation; love–true affection for God and man, growing out of God’s love for and in us], these three; but the greatest of these is love.

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About ashleydwille

Author Ashley D. Wille was always searching for spiritual answers. “True and lasting satisfaction always proved just out of reach. Now, in midlife, I have come to find my soul satiated in God. Through sweet surprises, difficult climbs, and excruciating valleys, the Master’s hand has shaped me. All along the way, God has taught me many things. What He has taught me most is that many of my beliefs about Him were wrong.” Her book, My Journey Through the Cross, is a personal insight shared by an amazing woman. Through her profound experiences and inner struggles, Wille shows how she was able to break through false layers of thinking and move into a deeper relationship with God. Her beautiful journey is just waiting to be shared. If you are ready to live your life free of guilt and shame, you too can learn how to walk in spiritual freedom.
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