People Pleasing?


Galatians 1:10-12: 10 Am I trying to win over human beings or God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I wouldn’t be Christ’s slave.11 Brothers and sisters, I want you to know that the gospel I preached isn’t human in origin. 12 I didn’t receive it or learn it from a human. It came through a revelation from Jesus Christ.

Who is easier to please: people or God? This is a good question for us to think about because it shows us our view of God and if we place people above God.

Why do you do the things you do? Remember yesterday, we talked about another group of people going behind Paul to add restrictions and new rules to the newly formed Christians. I imagine they would also tell the people that Paul was only traveling around for fame and money and not really believing in the gospel or caring about the people. So at the beginning of this letter, Paul has to set the record straight.

If you were Paul, what would you do? How would you feel? Since we are human, it is possible our reaction would be anger and become very defensive and revengeful. We could also just slip away and not say anything. Which reaction would you have?

Tomorrow we’ll look at Paul’s defense of his motives and what’s really in his heart. Today I invite us to think about what is more important: to please people or to please God? And who are you more likely to listen to?

We all want to be loved and noticed by other people. Some so that they would have prestige and fame. Some so they would have friends. Some even want to know their lives matter to others.

The entire letter to the Galatians reinforces the idea that we are free in Christ. We do not have to focus our lives on how others view us. We are children of the promise. We are set free, and free people demonstrate love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. People pleasing means we may have to compromise on these qualities, these “fruits of the Spirit.” But God pleasing means that we will live a life that points people to God, even if it cuts to the other person’s soul because they know something is off.

This should also help us think about what we say and what message we are giving. People pleasing will mostly tell people what they want to hear, making it more palatable and non-offensive. If, however, we are speaking the gospel truth (out of true love) then God will speak through us and say what the person(s) need to hear to guide them to a life with God as a focus and central point.

We all have our personal preferences; but we should be careful when we place these preferences in the gospel message of Jesus Christ. Just because we like something doesn’t mean it’s true. Also, just because we know something doesn’t mean we have to tell every person to show them how they are wrong (which really comes off to them that I am right, and then they can get defensive). Instead we speak the truth God reveals and then allow God to work in the life of the person (maybe through you).

So, who is more important to please: God or people? I believe God is easier to “please” because we know where he stands. People change and flow with opinions, circumstances, and knowledge. God never changes. His character is unchanging.

Today, I invite you and I to thoughtfully and prayerfully consider who we are more likely to try to make happy: God or people (even if the person is us). Then ask how we can shift toward and attitude and a lifestyle of pleasing God instead.


Published by Ryan Stratton

Ryan Stratton is a pastor in the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. He serves with his wife, Amanda, along with their children. He writes about life, faith, and leadership through his blog.

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