For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Fearing God Over Man
The Bible says that the fear of man is a stumbling block and ends up as a snare to us (Proverbs 29:25). This is what kept many of the Jews in Jesus’ day from publicly professing belief in Him. A lot of people believed in Jesus, but they were afraid to say anything. They were more worried about the Pharisees finding out, and they feared getting kicked out of the synagogue (John 12:42). I wonder how often I haven’t spoken up to tell others about Jesus or have seen an injustice and kept my mouth shut for the fear of what others would think of me. Too many times to count, I’m sure. What about you? Do you ever have that problem? If so, we’re trying to please others over pleasing God.
Obeying God Over Man
The Great Commission is an imperative command given to the church, just as Christ gave to the disciples, to go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 1:8). An imperative command is a direct order, and when it comes from our Lord, we have no way out of it. There is no “plan B” in proclaiming the Gospel. The Greek tense is like a command that a parent would give to their child to “get out of the street, right now!” So we can’t wiggle our way out of this command. Are we going to obey God or man? I was told by the pastor of another church that I’m wasting my time witnessing to people. I couldn’t believe it! One man in the city park told me that it’s a matter of the separation of church and state, so you can’t share your faith in the city park. Neither of these is true. The city had no such ordinance. Even if it did, would we choose to obey God’s command over man’s law? Peter and the apostles were told to stop teaching about Jesus, but Peter and the disciples knew that they had to obey God over what man said (Acts 5:29).
Pleasing God Over Man
Paul never sought to please people over God (Galatians 1:10a). You can tell he was not a people-pleaser because then he would’ve watered down the Gospel to please the Jews and get them off his back. Paul was more concerned with being a servant of Christ and pleasing Him because if he were simply trying to please men, then he said that he’d not be a true servant of Christ (Galatians 1:10b). Do we stand for what we believe in, or are we trying to please others and not make any waves? I must admit I’ve caved into the peer pressures of society far too often. I need to do better in this area. How about you?
A Closing Prayer
Father God, I am so sorry that all too often I’ve tried to please men and women over pleasing You. I must determine to stand for what I believe in regardless of what others think. So help me do just that, and in the mighty name of Jesus I pray.
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