Are you a people-pleaser? Most of us have a little of it in us. Being a “people-pleaser” means making decisions and doing things for the approval of people. Some of us, have a lot of it in us.
As children, we want to please our parents. It’s normal to be this way. It’s God’s will for everyone to have a home and parents and it’s normal for children to want their parents to be happy with them.
At work, we want to please our boss. Everyone wants to feel like our boss… our supervisor… is pleased with our work. That’s normal.
But, what’s not good is when we want to please people rather than God and that can happen. John 12:43 says, “…for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God…”
So, whose approval are you seeking? Be honest with yourself. Maybe you are a people-pleaser but you are embarrassed to say it. It’s normal for us to want to please our parents or our boss or teacher or coach. What isn’t normal is when our lives are governed by the approval of men.
Maybe you are doing something strictly for the approval of men. You don’t like to do it and you don’t feel you are very good at it but, you do it because someone else expects it. Well, stop doing it! It really doesn’t matter what someone else thinks. What matter is if you are happy and doing what God wants you to do.
If you have to please someone in order for them to love you, then, they don’t really love you. Real love is when someone loves you regardless of what you do or who you are.
If you are a people-pleaser, ask God to help you move on. You shouldn’t live your life for the approval of others. Live it for the approval of God.
In the television mini-series “Lonesome Dove,” Jake Spoon was a Texas Ranger who had been to Montana. As he described it, Captain ‘Call (Tommy Lee Jones) decided he wanted to take a herd of cattle to Montana and start a ranch. He was county on Jake to show them the way. But Jake begins to waver and doesn’t sound like he’s going on the trip. At one point, “Captain ‘Call” asks his side-kick, “Gus McRae” (Robert Duvall) if he thinks Jake is going to go on the trip. Gus replies, “What I do know is; Jake is far too leaky a vessel to put much hope in.”
I’ve known some folks like Jake… they are far too leaky a vessel to put much hope in. I’m guessing you’ve known some folks like that as well.
Psalm 114:8 says, “It’s better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.” David had been let down. He knew how it felt. He knew that you shouldn’t put your trust in man.
Maybe you have been let down. Maybe a spouse disappointed you. Maybe a parent let you down or… a very close friend. It happens. People are people… they are flawed and they will let us down. Because of that we should keep our trust in the Lord.
Some time back I was talking with a Preacher friend and I told him how disappointed I was in some people. He said, “Always keep your eyes on Jesus..”(Hebrews 12:2).
His point was; people will always let you down. Judas and Peter let Jesus down. But God never lets us down. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.
“Shoot straight with me.”
That was an expression Daddy used fairly frequently. If he was walking with someone and maybe he had a question about something, he might preface it by saying, “Shoot straight with me.” That was his way of saying, “Be honest with me.” I use the phrase at times, as well. My intention is the same as Daddy’s.. I’m telling someone to be honest with me.
Years ago, I was talking with a man who worked with an individual I knew. I asked him what the guy was like? He responded, “He’s a straight shooter.”
Being a “straight shooter” means being honest with people. It means keeping your work.. doing the right thing.
In Proverbs 15:21, the Bible says, “Folly is joy to him who lacks sense, but a man of understanding walks straight.”
Think about that verse… “Folly is joy to him who lacks sense…” “Folly” means doing something that is not smart.. .not wise… something foolish. And, there are people who at times, gloat in their folly.
“Man, I got wasted last night…” That’s folly.
“Man, I just spent a lot of money at the poker table..” That’s folly.
But then, the text reads, “… a man of understanding walks straight.”
“A man of understanding…” Not a foolish man but a man of understanding… a wise man… walks straight.
Jesus challenged us to walk “the straight and narrow way.” That means to live a Godly life. It means to live for Jesus… to be honest.. caring… reliable… and more.
Today and everyday, I challenge you to walk straight. Be a straight shooter. Be honest and live an upright life.
Recently I was talking with an individual who was an atheist. I explained “Pascal’s wager” to her. If you aren’t familiar with that, Blaise Pascal, a French philosopher once said that if you believe in God and live for God throughout your life, when you come to the end of life, if God doesn’t exist, you’ve lost nothing.
This individual replied, “Yeah, except, if God doesn’t exist, I want to be with the fun people..” They were referring to partying with non-Christians.
“I want to be with the fun people..”
The world’s idea of fun is drinking, maybe getting high on drugs… sexual immorality etc… Today, when many people get off work, they will stop by a grocery store or convenience store and buy a case of bar. They will spend the weekend, drinking that case of beer… That’s considered fun.
But, Jesus said, “I am come that you might have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). The word that is translated “abundantly” means “more than enough.” So, Jesus is saying the Christian life should supply more than enough happiness for us.
Ok, so,… question.. are you enjoying the Christian life? Are you finding peace and fulfillment in the Christian life? I’m going to be honest here… lots of times our Christianity can simply be a religion of “do’s and don’ts.” “Don’t do this.. don’t do this… etc..”
But there is no joy in that. When we give our lives to Christ, the Holy Spirit working in us takes away our desire for the things we once did. We find no joy in getting drunk… in sexual immorality…
Instead our joy is found in having fellowship with other believers… in learning more about God.
You can have fun as a Christian. You can laugh… some of us need to laugh at ourselves more.
Country comedian Jerry Clower was from East Fork, Mississippi. I had the opportunity to meet him two or three times. He was a very good comedian.
He would often close his shows by saying something like this… “I love laughter and I have made arrangements to miss the one place on earth where there ‘ain’t gone be no laughter..” He was talking about hell.
I agree with Jerry. I love laughter. And you can laugh and enjoy life and have fun as a Christian.
Most of you are familiar with the hit TV show, “Cheers.” The show ran for several years and was set in Boston. The show featured several characters who were regulars at the bar. The thing that I remember most from the show was the opening song. It had a catching ring to it;
“Making your way in the world today takes everything you got,
Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot.
Wouldn’t you like to get away?
Someone times you want to go
Where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see, our troubles are all the same
You wanna be where everybody knows Your name.”
“You wanna be where everybody knows Your name…” All of us want to be there. We want to be among friends.
Friends are special to all of us. Time spent with our friends is something we all enjoy.
In I Samuel 18, the Bible tells of a special friendship between David and Jonathan. The interesting thing here is that Saul was the son of Saul and Saul was jealous of David and wanted to kill him. But Jonathan helped him.
That’s what friends do… they help us.. they have our back.
Today, let your friend or friends know that you appreciate them.
Someone has said, “A friend walks in when everyone else walks out.” Treasure your friendships
“Trust Him anyway…”
Those words came to mind this morning after I read Psalm 112:7 which reads, “His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.”
The word “steadfast” brings to mind someone who has been hit… someone who has been knocked down… they are a bit shaky but they remain “steadfast…trust in the Lord.”
Many of us have been there. We are believers. We love the Lord… we believe that living for Christ is the right way to live. But, we have gone through tough times. We have gone through adversity. Maybe even to the point of beginning to question if God exists. Or, we may question if the right thing to do is trust God.
Maybe we pray and there seems to be no answer.
Maybe we work hard but our business doesn’t seem to grow while others.. maybe even people who are not believers, does grow. In those situations, yes, a person may begin to question the existence of God.
But the Psalmist says that even though things are tough, the righteous man remains “steadfast… trusting in the Lord.”
And as I thought about those few words… the phrase “trust Him anyway” came to mind. I don’t remember where I’ve heard it but, the idea is, “when things are tough… when we don’t understand…. trust Him anyway
When God is silent… trust Him anyway,
When the economy is struggling… trust Him anyway.
When we get passed over for the job… trust Him anyway.
Today.. whatever you are dealing with… if you begin to wobble some… if you are a little shaky…. trust Him anyway.
Have you ever done something before the Lord told you to? Have you ever acted hastily and not asked for direction from the Lord? If you have, you know it’s a mistake to get ahead of God.
In I Samuel 13, God has selected Saul to be the first king of Israel. Shortly after selecting him, Saul was in Gilgal preparing to lead Israel into battle against the Philistines. Samuel the priest, had told Saul to wait for him. But, Saul’s army was getting nervous. Instead of calmly praying, “Lord give me wisdom to know what to do,” Saul took matters into his own hands.
Saul said, “Bring to me the burnt offering and the peace offering.” So, Saul did what the priest normally did… which was a grave mistake.
Now Samuel shows up. He asks Saul, “What have you done?” Saul tells Samuel that the people were getting antsy and he decided to act in Samuel’s place. Samuel said, “You have acted foolishly… for you have not kept the commandment of the Lord… God would have established your kingdom over Israel forever but now your kingdom shall not endure.” And all because Saul had not waited on the Lord.
We can do the same at times. It may be that you are praying for direction but nothing has come. Don’t get impatient and take matters into your own hands.
It is ALWAYS best to wait on God.