Black Walnut 16x21
Jesus put his finger on the ancient fear of man when he confronted the proud people-pleasers of his day: “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” (John 5:44). People-pleasing had blinded them to Jesus. Unchecked, it will cover our eyes as well. “They loved the glory that comes from man,” John 12:43 tells us, “more than the glory that comes from God.” That preference is the essence and danger of people-pleasing.
“The antidote to the fear of man is not fearlessness but a better, healthier, more life-giving fear: the fear of God.”
Please God, Love People
Now, pleasing God does not mean despising people. The Son of God himself “came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). He counted others and their interests more significant than his own (Philippians 2:3–5) — imagine that! He said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). Pleasing God does not release us from relentlessly and sacrificially loving people. It does release us from the tyranny of needing their praise or fearing their rejection.
So, please God and love people, like Christ. “No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits,” worrying about how well he will be received or remembered by men, “since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him” (2 Timothy 2:4). Do all that you do before his loving, watchful, fearsome eyes. If we learn to rejoice and tremble before him (Psalm 2:11), the seduction of people-pleasing will wither and wane.