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. (NLT)
Most of us would want to please people rather than displease them. Popularity beats rejection any day of the week. But as Paul notes, sometimes you have to do and say things that cause others displeasure. He certainly wanted to get stuck into the Galatians because he reckoned they had abandoned the gospel. So he pulled no punches.
In our lives, we need to recognise three dangers of making ‘people pleasing’ our priority. One is that you can’t please everyone. Satisfy one person’s viewpoint and you alienate someone who holds a differing viewpoint. Another reason is that the other person might be wrong or at least misguided. The squeaky wheel might gather grease but might be squeaking unwisely or mistakenly!
And finally, as Paul says, if we aim at primarily pleasing people, we will end up not paying heed to the God whom we need to ultimately please. The still small voice of the Spirit of God can be drowned out by loud or insistent voices that urge us to go their way and quite possibly miss God’s way.
This doesn’t mean we ignore advice or contrary opinions. Nor does it mean we deliberately aim to be unpopular. We want to get on with as many people as possible. But in the end, we are not accountable to the sly manipulators or the loud voiced advocates or the determined dogmatists. We aim to please God and let the chips fall where they may.
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