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JFH Devotionals by J.M. Farro

You Can't Please People

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 disappear?

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 long? - 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." (Proverbs 19:23)

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


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