Have you heard the expression: “She’s a people pleaser?” Psychologists have written extensively on the subject of people-pleasers. They find it easier to go along with what someone wants or with their opinion than to express their own. They avoid speaking their mind and always try to be nice rather than expressing how they really feel. They want everyone to get along. They’re always trying to do something for others and feel guilty if they can’t or if they don’t want to. They feel guilty about enjoying things themselves. They feel guilty about having to say no.
At another level there is the Biblical term anthrōpáreskos, or men-pleasers – those who work hard when the boss is around, trying to make a good impression on her. (Ephesians 6:6, Colossians 3:22) And then there are self-pleasers – those who love themselves and seek only to please themselves. (2Timothy 3:2)
Who am I trying to please?
1. My own self? Mr. Selfish Supreme!
2. My friends, those around me and other people? Mr. Nice Guy Doormat!
3. The boss and the business? A real ‘Company’ Man!
Each morning as the Apostle Paul did his personal grooming in front of a mirror, a higher and nobler ‘desire to please‘ occupied his heart, activated his mind and energized his body. When he was writing to Corinth about his ministry and the pros and cons of remaining here on earth or going home to heaven he wrote these words:
We know that while we are at home in the body
we are away from the Lord,
for we walk by faith, not by sight.
Yes, we are of good courage,
and we would rather be away from the body
and at home with the Lord.
So whether we are at home or away,
we make it our aim to please HIM.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ…”
Are you consciously trying to PLEASE HIM? When you have to make a choice to do this, go there, wear that, look like this, get that or whatever, do you consciously ask:
- Am I making this choice or this decision to PLEASE HIM?
- Am I confident this will bring Him pleasure?
- Will He nod with approval from Heaven as He observes me doing this?
- Will He beckon to an angel and say: “Cherub, take a look at my blood-bought child on Planet Earth today. Isn’t it thrilling to see her making that choice? I gave my life for her at Calvary and now her aim is to please Me in return.”
Pleasing Christians, pleasing our families and our spouses, pleasing our manager, and pleasing our neighbors are all right in their proper place. In fact, Christians should be distinguished by ‘serving and pleasing others’ but only in so far as such activities are ultimately pleasing HIM. It might please my friends if I went along with them or looked like them or did what they did – but can you connect the dots to how such a thing would please your Lord? It might please some of your peers if you didn’t progress spiritually and if you didn’t get baptized or if you chose not to come into the fellowship of a local assembly – you might please them – but what about Christ? So pleasing others definitely has limits and boundaries.
It is never okay or right to please others at the expense of not pleasing the Lord.
Paul’s aim was to please Him. More than once he committed to paper words that summarized his mission in life – words that described his primary objective, his burning desire, and his focused aim for his Christian life. See if you can find these references in the Epistles he wrote.
Are you consciously, prayerfully and daily aiming to please Him? Is that the hidden driving force in your life? Try writing down ‘the desire of your life’ on a piece of paper. Put it above your computer and insert a copy in your Bible.