Do you please God or man?

Why do you do what you do?  Ever wonder what drives you?  To serve those you serve?  I have.  As a mother, I evaluate the advice I give, the help I offer.  As a wife, I consider the respect, honor and faithfulness I give my husband.  As a friend, I analyze my trustworthiness, my generosity, my tolerance.  As a writer, I constantly scrutinize–edit my words, check my spelling, perfect my grammar.  Perhaps you are like me, only in another way.  You analyze your every effort.  You try to please a boss, a spouse, a child.  You look to your neighbor’s newly mowed lawn and think you must get out there and mow yours.  You see another planting geraniums and head to the nursery to purchase some roses.  You listen to someone teach, or preach and feel you must measure up to that person.  You hear someone’s testimony and think less or your own.  You see others volunteering and serving and you chasten yourself for not doing more.  Why?

“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10

Our aim must be higher than comparing ourselves to others.  When we take stock in our own lives, we need to do so in light of Who we are trying to please.  As servants of Christ, our only desire should be that of loving as He loved–because He first loved us.  As we evaluate our work, our activity, our speech, our thoughts need rest only in our Lord’s pleasure.  Are we living in holiness, in humility, in peace? Are we faithful to His call? Are we serving to gain notoriety, success, or popularity? Or are we doing what we do as a willing and cheerful sacrifice of praise for the righteousness we have in Christ, our risen Lord?  God loved us while we were yet sinners.  He gave His life that we might have His life within us.  In Christ we have all we need to bring glory to Him.  May we lay aside our need to please man, and live only to magnify Him and point others to Him.

© Hariette Petersen, SelahV Today, 2010

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Hariette Petersen

Married to retired Southern Baptist minister who served in Kentucky for 23 years. Now living in Lawton, Oklahoma. Free-lance writer published in Decision Magazine, Upper Room, Homelife, Living with Children, Living with Teenagers, and more. Mother of two. Grandmother of seven. Great-grandmother of three.

4 thoughts on “Do you please God or man?”

  1. Such an interesting topic…I’ve always been the type of person who wants to please everyone else. Parents, bosses, friends….all of them. I have amazing family and friends who know God, and hopefully my actions of making my peers happy will also be God-pleasing. If you go about your actions in a chrisian-like manner, I believe you can make both God and everyone else happy.

  2. Laboring for God rather than for man has been heavily on my mind since the beginning of Lent for a variety of reasons. Two thoughts have continuously resurfaced for me. The first is that whatever we do we should do heartily (Colossians 4:23) Practically speaking what does that mean. I think we must do all that we do with joy and enthusiasm, not grumbling or complaining. A smile should be on our faces and a song in our hearts as we labor.

    The second thought is that we should do all that we do with thanks (Col. 3:17). When I clean and do mundane chores, I try to keep this in mind. This lesson first came home to me while mowing my lawn on a hot summer day in Arkansas. It was muggy and I was rather miserable. I was inwardly groaning about “having” to mow my lawn. Then I realized, I don’t “have” to mow a lawn. I “get” to mow a lawn. I privilege ownership and stewardship of property. Globally speaking, having a lawn is radical abundance and I should never begrudge it. That moment transformed mundane work into thankful offering.

    Thank you so much for your post. I am new to this blog but look forward to other posts now.

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