How can we please God?
I remember a conversation I once had with my daughter.
She had made something up to tell one of her friends. She said something she shouldn’t have said because she didn’t know what else to say. She wanted to make her friend happy even if it was something she wasn’t supposed to do.
She told me, “Mommy, I said it because I didn’t know what to say.”
How many times do we as women do this same thing? How often do we say or do something because we don’t know what else to say or do?
We think we have to have an answer or a thought to add to the conversation.
How often, in our need to be included, do we accept something or speak something that we know is wrong?
You might be thinking that this is a word meant for teenagers who still care what their friends think, but I have to say that it does still apply to those of us in our twenties and thirties and beyond. It may be something as simple as a word in text message or a quick comment on facebook but it also goes deeper.
When we feel we need to add something in just to say something, it goes deeper into who do we care most about: God or man? Do we want to please God or our friends and family?
To begin the book of Galatians, Paul is having to prove he is preaching a gospel sent from the one and only God.
Even in the early days of the church, the gospel was being watered down by false teachers. New thoughts and ideas were popping up about the gospel and Paul was trying to get the word out that he carried the truth he received in a revelation from God. He hadn’t made it up.
Now, Paul knew the dangers of being a Christ-follower. He knew because he had once been a man who persecuted Christians. He had seen both sides and knew the side he walked on was not a popular one.
As a preacher of the gospel writing a letter to the church in Galatia, he was dealing with the question of “Please God or men?” He knew it would be easier to preach a man-pleasing gospel but he also knew, as a servant of God, he must preach the true Word of God.
Verse 10 says, “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.” He answers this dilemma in I Thessalonians 2:4 by saying, “On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men, but God, who tests our hearts.”
How does this apply to us as women?
I want to challenge you to think about conversations you have with friends. Think about what goes on in your home or workplace.
In the study notes of my firebible for verse 10 it says, “People cannot effectively spread Christ’s message or influence others to follow him if they are more concerned about what people think than what God desires. Such people demonstrate shame regarding Christ and, as a result, they compromise His truth. All true followers of Christ must make it their aim to please God and fulfill His plans and desires for them, even if it means displeasing some people.”
The story about my daughter seems innocent enough but I took it very seriously because it was a teaching moment, a time when I could pour truth into her life.
I explained to her that when something comes up that we don’t understand or don’t feel comfortable with, we don’t have to have something to add just to fit in.
In her circumstance, she didn’t even know what having a boyfriend meant, but many times in our own circumstances, we do know what we are saying. We know that we are compromising truth to fit into a conversation or group of people.
How do we combat this tendency to compromise, to please those around us rather than God?
Know the truth. Know the word. Know what God desires. Determine in your heart to obey no matter who you are with.
Sometimes it means to just stay silent. Sometimes it means to speak up. Other times it means to get on your knees and ask God.
Remember, “We are not trying to please men, but God, who tests our hearts.”
What will matter in light of eternity: having the approval of men or God?