“But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted to the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.” –1 Thessalonians 2:4
We live in a world where everyone wants to be accepted. Everyone wants to be wanted by all. It’s part of our human nature. But as Christians, we are called to be different, to be set apart. This can be hard at times because we are afraid of being rejected by others. We don’t want to be different, so we will try to get as close to being like the world as we can. But the truth is we can’t try to please both the world and God (Galatians 1:10 “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”) When we dedicate our life to Jesus, we are giving up our fleshly desire to please the world and saying that God is the only one we will strive to please (1 Thessalonians 2:4 “But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.”) And when we focus on only pleasing God rather than the world, we will be rejected by the world. One of my favorite sayings by Jim Elliot is, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which we cannot lose.” We have to give up the want to be accepted and wanted by the world. In doing so, we are giving up the things we can’t keep for the things we will never lose.
Last week our pastor took a long rope and painted the tip red. Then he stretched it out to the back of the room and said that the rope resembles our life. The little red tip is our time here on earth and the rest of it is eternity. What we do during this short time on earth will affect what our eternity will look like. When we give our life to God, we are saying that we will only please Him during our little time on earth so that we can spend the rest of eternity in paradise with Him. We will have to suffer rejection and persecution, but it will all be worth it in the end. In Matthew 16:24, Jesus told his disciples to deny themselves and take up his cross and follow Him. He let them know that it profits a man nothing if he gained the whole world but lost his own soul. It is the same with trying to please others. What will it profit us if we gain the acceptance of the world, but lose our soul?
Only in pleasing Jesus will we find true satisfaction. He is the only one who can help us replace the desire of pleasing men for the desire to please God. And when we take this step, it will only draw us closer to Him and increase our hunger and thirst for Him. We have a decision to make. Who are you going to please?