Reading through an article on Christian leadership, I saw a statistic that definitely shocked me, but I can relate to. It stated that 91 % of pastors in a survey of over 1,200 “admitted to people-pleasing tendencies to some degree in their respective ministries.”
People pleasing – many of us struggle in that area. I know I certainly do, and it’s a struggle I’ve had for years. I want to help others, which is a good thing, but I would do it to gain approval. When I did things for the sole purpose of gaining approval, I would find myself being stretched way too thin, unhappy because I was doing things that I didn’t want to do. I’ve been asked the question, “What are you – a people pleaser or a God pleaser?” I heard that question, but didn’t really listen to it. I’m helping others, so of course I’m pleasing God – right?
It’s true that serving others is something we are told to do, and it is something Jesus did. However, we need to be doing it for the right reasons. I read a Joyce Meyer article not too long ago which said, “It all comes down to one thing: motives.” She goes on to challenge the reader – are we motivated by the desire to be accepted? Are we motivated by fear? Are we motivated by personal gain? Or are we motivated by the Holy Spirit’s prompting and our desire to please Him? In her article, she says, “What the Spirit leads us to do or not do, He will give us a peace about.”
I’m definitely motivated by the approval of man in so many decisions I make in my life, when really I need to do everything I do with the mindset of glorifying God and showing others God’s love. I am a big people-pleaser. James 2 says a lot about faith and works needing to go hand-in-hand. It’s important that we do all that we do for the glory of God.
Of course there will be certain things that God will lead us to do that we may not necessarily “want” to do, but our motives will help us discern if it is what God wants us to do or if it’s something we’re doing to gain approval. Of course my desire is to please God in all I do, but I am motivated by the desire to be liked by everyone. My prayer is that my true motivation comes from the desire to serve Christ alone.