Don’t be a people-pleaser

Good morning everyone,
 
Our theme for this month: “The end of anxiety and despair”
 
Our Bible verse for today: “My eager expectation and hope is that I will not be ashamed about anything, but that now as always, with all courage, Christ will be highly honored in my body whether by life or by death.” Philippians 1:20 (CSB)
 
Our thought for today: “Don’t be a people-pleaser”
 
In his great little book, “The Ragamuffin Gospel”, author Brennan Manning offers helpful insight regarding finding release and freedom from the tyranny of people-pleasing. “Freedom in Christ produces a healthy independence from peer pressure, people-pleasing, and the bondage of human respect. The tyranny of public opinion can manipulate our lives. What will the neighbors think? What will my friends think? What will people think? The expectations of others can exert a subtle but controlling pressure on our behavior.”
 
A big source of anxiety and despair for a lot of people is their preoccupation with what they believe others think about them. So much of our lives end up being driven by our desire to be thought well of by others, and we therefore end up striving to do or say things likely to gain their approval. People-pleasing is an insidious trap because we’ll never be able to please everyone. There will always be critics, naysayers, gossip mongers, and slanderers.
 
Another reason that people-pleasing is a fruitless pursuit is because much of what we believe other people do or don’t think about is wrong. Our imagination takes over and convinces us their thoughts about us are worse than they are, or that they matter more than they really do, and that they are more frequent than they are. The truth is other people don’t think about us anywhere near as often as we believe they do.
 
But the most important reason that people-pleasing is wrong is because other people aren’t the standard that our conduct should be measured by, and therefore their approval isn’t what matters most. Our conduct should be measured by Biblical standards and our goal should be to please the Lord. This is what Paul was explaining in Philippians 1:20 (above). His goal was to honor God. People could like that or not and approve of it or not, but as long as the Lord was pleased, that’s all that mattered to Paul.
 
I encourage you to focus on living your life in a manner that is consistent with Biblical principles, and therefore pleasing to the Lord. That’s the standard that matters. When you are doing your best to live like that, you can then walk-through life with a quiet sense of confidence and peace. Anxiety and despair find little room in the life of a person who is committed to pleasing God rather than people.
 
God bless,
Pastor Jim
Copyright © 2022 Oak Hill Baptist Church, All rights reserved.

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