I, even I, am He who comforts you and gives you all this joy. So what
right have you to fear mere mortal men, who wither like the grass and
And yet you have no fear of God, your Maker--you have forgotten Him,
the one who spread the stars throughout the skies and made the earth. Will
you be in constant dread of man's oppression, and fear their anger all day
- Isaiah 51:12-13 TLB
I've lived long enough to have discovered a very important fact of
life--you can't please people. One of the things I love most about serving
God and living for Him is that I no longer have to live in fear of people's
disapproval. All I have to do is concentrate on pleasing God, Who never
changes, and I'll succeed in life. It's a freedom that I appreciate and
can't live without. I began experiencing this freedom for myself when I
started studying the Bible and discovering what God says about trying to be
a people pleaser. Proverbs 29:25 NLT says, "Fearing people is a dangerous
trap, but to trust the Lord means safety." Trying to win the approval of
people can lead to disappointment, frustration, and emptiness. But seeking
God's approval brings peace, contentment, and fulfillment. Those who
strive to please others are often unstable. You can't count on them, and
neither can God. They are often easily intimidated, and they can be talked
into or out of something, even though their own hearts condemn them for it.
The Bible says, "Do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled."
(1 Peter 3:14 NASB) Right before Jesus' departure, He leaves His disciples
His perfect peace and tells them, "Do not permit yourselves to be fearful
and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled." (John 14:17 AMP) Trying to
please people will rob us of our peace, and because of that, it can harm
our mental, emotional and physical health. On the other hand, "The fear of
the Lord leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble."
The good news is that we can depend on God all the time. He tells us in
His Word, "I the Lord do not change." (Malachi 3:6) And James tells us
that our God "does not change like shifting shadows." (1:17) Can you
imagine if people recorded their own laws? They would have to be altered
continually to keep up with our tendency to change the rules as we go
along. But God won't ever change, and neither will His Word. God wants to
bless us and use us for His glory, but He can't do that if we're busy
trying to please others, instead of seeking His perfect will for our lives
each day. The Bible says that "All who are led by the Spirit of God are
children of God." (Romans 8:14 NLT) It's God's will for us to be
Spirit-led, not people-led. Otherwise, God will not be able to count on
us, and He will have to put us on a shelf, instead of using us to make a
real difference in this world. The apostle Paul was a great example of a
God pleaser, and the Lord used Him mightily. In Galatians 1:10 NLT, Paul
exclaims: "Obviously, I'm not trying to be a people pleaser! No, I'm
trying to please God. If I were trying to please people, I would not be
Christ's servant." If we want to be true servants of Christ, we're going
to have to actively seek God daily, ask for His guidance, and then yield to
the promptings of His Spirit. Sometimes what people want us to do and what
God wants us to do will be the same, but many times they will conflict.
Itís up to us to choose who we will obey. If you are in the habit of
trying to please people, remember this--it can't be done. My prayer for
you today is that in everything, you'll set your heart on pleasing God, and
discover for yourself the peace and freedom that only He can give!
Prayer: Lord, help me to seek Your perfect will in everything each day. Teach
me to be sensitive and obedient to the promptings of Your Spirit. Guard me
from the fear of man, and grant me a holy fear and reverence for You.
Thank You for the peace, joy, and freedom I'll enjoy as a result!
- J. M. Farro