About Jesus Steve Sweetman
Pleasing God Rather Than Man
"...we are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts." - 1 Thessalonians 2:4
The above statement made by Paul is simple enough to understand. We all as Christians would like to be able to say these words as well. As I have seen, there are two different motives for making such a statement.
There are some who claim to please God, and not man. These people, I would say, do it from an attitude of arrogant independence. They say, "I obey God, and only God". But do you know what they are really saying? They are saying, "I don't want to listen to anyone or co-operate with anyone. I would rather just do my own thing." Doing my own thing, is a phrase that has come out of the hippie movement of the sixties. It is a form of rebellion. People who are like this spiritualize their rebellion by saying they are God pleasers, rather than man pleasers. They want to be like Paul when in reality they are not.
Paul had nothing like this in mind when he made this statement. Paul was saying that he pleased God. Paul was saying that he was a servant of God. He laid down his own independence in order to follow the Lord. Part of following the Lord, part of pleasing God was giving himself to others. Paul served man.
By pleasing God he could properly serve man. This is not arrogant independence. This is true servanthood.
We can ask ourselves, who do we serve? Do we say we please God yet use this as a disguise to please ourselves? Do we say that we serve others but in reality simply give into their wishes for us? Or, do we indeed please God by obeying Him and serving others out of a pure heart.
Paul was a man of strength. He was not swayed by other men's thinking. He was meek, which means that he knew how to be gentle, yet strong. He was man enough to serve men, yet not be unduly influenced by them.
To please God and not man is to do what Jesus did. He laid aside His own will to please His Father and to love mankind. There was no hint of arrogance, no hint of selfish independence.
In this verse Paul goes on to say that "God will test our hearts". The Lord knows our true motives, and it is He to whom we will answer to.
Are we easily swayed by other people's opinions, or by the Lord's thinking? By being secure in Him, can we properly serve those whom He has put before us?
There is a big difference between serving man and pleasing man. Thus the people who use this scripture the right way are those who are secure in the Lord. They do not bow down and always please man. They please God, and then serve man from a pure heart. They serve man because they want to please God.