The world tells us to avoid people-pleasing by putting ourselves and our desires first.
God tells us: "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others." Philippians 2:3-4
So, if we're supposed to be considerate of others' interests and value them above ourselves, how do we avoid becoming an unhealthy people-pleaser?
The answer: our relationship with the Lord. As we seek Him, we better understand His will and we quit valuing people above God.
This was emphasized in my life about 10 years ago when I was in charge of a ministry project involving a group of people I didn't know. One of my roles was to make sure participants were culturally sensitive in dress and behavior. Unfortunately, the rules were unpopular and, thus, I was unpopular. Several days of cold treatment left me distraught. I wanted these people to like me.
After one tense morning, I returned to my room exhausted. The tears flowed as I cried out to the Lord, and He gave me peace and a much needed nap. My circumstances didn't improve, but I was confident I was doing what God wanted and doing it in a spirit of love even if it was not received as such.
It's always good to ask God if we've done something offensive. But, if we haven't, it's important to accept God's approval and ignore the disapproval of others.
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Romans 12:2: The only way we overcome the deceptive influences of our culture is to transform our thinking in God's Word.
Galatians 1:10: Life is full of choices to please God or man.
Colossians 3:22: This verse originally addressed slaves, but it applies to all employees as well. We should do what's right whether others notice or not. After all, we know that God sees everything.
Proverbs 29:25: People-pleasing leads to worry, fear, loss and regret.
Ephesians 5:10: Pleasing the Lord should be our chief aim in life.
James 4:4: Isn't it wonderful that this passage calls our relationship with the Lord "friendship"? Imagine being a friend to the infinite Creator God!
What is your greatest area of weakness when it comes to people-pleasing? I'd love to have you come on site and leave a comment.
copyright 2013, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com
All Scripture NIV unless otherwise noted