Lately I have been learning something that has been hard, and I see many others struggle with it also. I am learning to seek the approval of God, and not worry about the opinion of other people. Have you ever felt that way? Act different around certain groups of people; say or do something to ‘fit in’; fearing what negative thing others say about you? I have, and it feels like captivity, letting what others think control how I feel.
People pleasers live in a shell of who they are, always in constant fear of what others think or say. They are insecure in their identity, and like a chameleon, change according to their environment. I wonder how much this would change if we live as Jesus did, seeking only to please the Father rather than people?
The Bible makes it clear that we can’t be both. John 8:12-30 shows how Jesus interacted with those who questioned Him and did not believe who He is. His reply to the Pharisees is incredible. They told Jesus that His testimony is not valid because He is His own witness (Jn 8:13). He tells them, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going. You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. But if I do judge, my decisions are true, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me. In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is true. I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.” (Jn 8:14-18)
Jesus knew He was pleasing the Father, and did not care what people said about Him. He obeyed His Father whatever the cost, and never feared the consequences knowing that He wasn’t alone (John 8:29, “The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.”) I’m beginning to see that that in order to change my way of thinking, I need to be mindful of pleasing the Father, not other people. I want to encourage you to live as Jesus did, pleasing our Father, and not worrying about the consequences or what other people think or say.