A little child is easily quieted and amused with gaudy toys, and dolls, and rattles, so long as it is not hungry; but once let it feel the cravings of nature within, and we know that nothing will satisfy it but food. Just so it is with man in the matter of his soul. Music, and flowers, and candles, and incense, and banners, and processions, and beautiful vestments, and confessionals, and man-made ceremonies of a semi-Romish character, may do well enough for him under certain conditions. But once let him “awake and arise from the dead,” and he will not rest content with these things. They will seem to him mere solemn triflings, and a waste of time.
we are a people of moderation, kind of. Let me correct that, we enjoy the idea of moderation. No better place do we see this than in the realm of the religious world. People don’t mind if you say you love Jesus and even if you show such fruits of that faith as niceness and
submission tolerance to the gospel they preach. All is well, no one gets hurt and we all chose to believe different things. But then there’s the Bible.
Nowhere in the New Testament do you see a kind of faith where there are no boats to be rocked, no offense given to anyone, no bad feelings ever experienced as a result of holding to the Christian faith. And while it’s REALLY easy to be the believer who eats at chick fail a all the time, has those annoying family stickers on their car, goes to the harmless mega church that would never offend anyone- that simply not at all the faith life we’re called to. (disclaimer: not all mega churches preach an easy gospel-I had none in mind, and certainly none in this town, and I happen to love chick fail a). There’s a cross attached to this faith and there’s a price to pay.
I love what Tim Keller says about the extreme call of Jesus. “So is that the way Christianity works? Does Jesus say “Moderation in all things”? In Luke’s Gospel, he says to a large crowd, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters— yes, even his own life— he cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26). Sound moderate? Jesus says, “If anyone comes to me.” He doesn’t say to the crowd, “Look, most of you can be moderate, but I do need a few good men and women who really want to go all the way with this discipleship.” He says “anyone.” There’s no double standard. “If anyone wants to have anything to do with me, you have to hate your father and mother, wife and children, brother and sister, and even your own life, or you cannot be my disciple.” That’s what it means to follow Jesus.”
In a nutshell, it’s a transaction that’s glorious, beautiful, and very difficult. Don’t settle for an easy faith that appears moderate. Jesus won’t have to that. But on the other side is the true freedom the gospel brings. Get carried away, love profoundly, sacrifice it all, and never have it be said that you were a safe believer.
In all things idolatry, there are two sides. Like a battery, there is a positive side and a nagative side to all the times our heart wishes to make something else lord. In the case of fearing man, or people pleasing, those two sides are as follows: a. The over-love of people’s approval and the negative would be, b. The fear of losing someone’s approval. Lou Priolo says in his work, Pleasing People, “The love of man’s approval is inextricably bound to the fear of man’s disapproval. When a people-pleaser interacts with others, his thoughts immediately and instinctively run in the direction of selfishness, anxiety, and fear.”
Here are three bullet points about people pleasing:
- the people pleaser fears the displeasure of man more than the displeasure of God.
- The people pleaser desires the praise of man more than the praise of God.
- The people pleaser studies what it takes to please man as much as, if not more, what it takes to please God.
What are to do to get out from this mess? Seek the pleasure of God more than man. That’s it. Consider your standing in Christ, as a well pleasing child of God in this mystical, wonderful union. Consider the cross, the nails, the blood, all that went into your justification. Consider, too, that what the people pleaser works so hard for is the fickle, sin-tainted view of himself through the mirror of someone else’s eyes.
What at do you desire more, dear reader? Do you desire the pleasure of people or the pleasure of God more? Which party’s disappointment do you fear the most? the Lord Almighty or mere people?