One of the most challenging Scriptures in the Epistles is Galatians 1:10 which is about honoring God instead of men. Paul says, “Am I now trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
Paul is writing in the context of preaching the full Gospel. Parts of the Gospel message were offensive to listeners. And it required great courage for him to preach the whole Gospel and not just the parts that were easy to swallow.
As a servant of Christ, we are called to please one person – Jesus Christ. How easy it is for us (especially those of us who are natural people pleasers) to seek the accolades of people. Let’s face it, we all appreciate an encouraging word or a well done slap on the back from others. The rub comes when things are not going so well in our ministries. Attendance is down, giving is down, or there is a critical spirit in the church or the leadership.
This is when the temptation arises to try and change things, to make things better. Later we realize we are operating more in the flesh than the spirit. And all our efforts and energy have not generated a lasting change, but merely placated some of the nay sayers.
Thankfully, when we choose to please God and Him alone, we will please those around us as well. But there will be times when we can’t make everyone happy. It’s during those times that we need great courage to walk the path of faith, choosing to please the only One who gave up everything for us.