It’s not spiritually beneficial to place your focus on pleasing people. I’ve learned that ‘people-pleasing’ wears you out and stifles your ability to bring glory to God! In fact, many people-pleasers believe this kind of behavior is commendable because it involves ‘serving others’, but it isn’t—it’s motivated by approval. Now then, pleasing those we love can be rewarding, and this may not be wrong in and of itself. But pleasing God is a higher calling and much more fulfilling. Disappointment looms in the shadows when our desire to please people and gain their approval becomes as important as pleasing God and sensing his approval. Paul said in Galatians 1:10, “Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” Beloved of God, our primary focus should be on pleasing God not people!! Paul reminds us in Romans 12:1 that we are to “present [our] bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God.” But if we are going to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice (and people-pleasers do this), then it must be to God alone. We are to please him first, and he is the only one we are to worship!
What’s your handicap? In others words, what are your areas of weakness? One method used to highlight weak areas in a business or individuals is to use a S.W.O.T. This tool or technique is used to identify Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. In most cases people love to embellish about their strengths however, let’s focus on the one area of this analysis matrix we like to avoid or not admit; our weaknesses. In the carnal eye weaknesses are viewed as bad thing whereas in spiritual reality God uses our weaknesses to shame the strong (1 Cor 1:27) and to humble pride-filled people (2 Cor 12:10). Paul said, “Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become (2 Cor 12:7-10).” Our weaknesses are actual great reminders. They remind us that our life depends on God, we deserve wrath but we receive grace, and when we are weak we are strong! At the end of the day, God uses our weaknesses or handicaps to refine our trust and dependence on Him!
You may ask yourself is GOD listening to my prayers? You May even feel like God is so distant. Well, TRUST me he is not! Happy Psalm 145:18 says, “GOD is there, listening for all who pray, for all who pray and mean it.” Beloved, GOD is watching over you. Right here. Right now. You may not see him or hear him, but you’re constantly on his mind, and he loves you. Therefore, don’t loose hope or think for a moment that GOD is ignoring your prayers-He hears all and sees all! Keep your eyes open, and watch for GOD’s presence in your life. You may not see him all the time, but like the wind, you can see the effect he has. Maybe you will see him in how he provides. Or comforts. Or the people he sends into your life. God wants you to keep on praying and reading his Word and living out your faith. Jesus said Matthew 28:20, “….surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” and Jeremiah said in 29:12-13, “Come and pray to me, and I will listen to you,” GOD says. “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
God went through a whole lot of trouble to reconcile us! We are so bless to have a good-good Father that cares so much for us that He would lower himself to that of a mere human, be ridiculed, beaten, falsely accused, sentenced to death, and crucified on a cross so that we could have life and life eternally (John 3:16). I Peter 1:3 (MSG) says, “What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole.” You can have all the money, friends, worldly/historical knowledge, and possessions this world can offer but nothing and I do mean nothing compares to the love that God offers us through Jesus Christ. No love is greater nor more profound than the love of God! What a God we serve!!
When we’re communicating with a significant other, family member, colleague or friend, we want to be heard. And when we’re in conflict—when emotions are often inflamed—our understanding can be compromised. If anyone had to deal with conflict in the OT it was certainly David. In Psalm 116 dubbed the ‘thanksgiving’ Psalm, David remembers the the ominous dangers, cruel torment, and the mental anguished he endured and then how remarkably he was preserved by God. The MSG paraphrase of verse 1 put it this way, “I love GOD because he listened to me, listened as I begged for mercy. He listened so intently as I laid out my case before him. Death stared me in the face, hell was hard on my heels. Up against it, I didn’t know which way to turn; then I called out to GOD for help: “Please, GOD!” I cried out. “Save my life!” GOD is gracious—it is he who makes things right, our most compassionate God. GOD takes the side of the helpless; when I was at the end of my rope, he saved me.” When was the last time you didn’t ask God for anything and out of the abundance of His grace you reflected on His goodness with thanksgiving?
You don’t have to wait until we celebrate Easter to remember that JESUS CHRIST is risen! He is risen above sickness, finances, ignorance, hatred, division, political systems, governments, heavy hearts, grieving hearts, sin, iniquities, transgressions, hurt, pain, rejection, trials, tribulations, and death! You see, possessing a praise-filled attitude despite your circumstances does not mean that we should never cry out to God in our suffering. However, praising Him and lifting Him up in the midst of our battles should stifle our worries, weeping, and doubts. When praying honestly to God and praising him in suffering we will find that God hears us and He alone will give us joy and peace that surpasses human comprehension. So trust JESUS CHRIST today even with the infinitesimal [smallest] problem because when we are at our worst God is always at His best!!
God never promised that we would live forever on this earth. So why do so many choose to live as if they will never die? Psalm 90:12 says, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Death is the destiny of everyone, and the living should take this to heart. Because of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, we do not need to fear the final deadline, but neither should we be nonchalant about it. Jesus said in John 3:36, “The One that God sent speaks God’s words. And don’t think he rations out the Spirit in bits and pieces. The Father loves the Son extravagantly. He turned everything over to him so he could give it away—a lavish distribution of gifts. That is why whoever accepts and trusts the Son gets in on everything, life complete and forever! And that is also why the person who avoids and distrusts the Son is in the dark and doesn’t see life. All he experiences of God is darkness, and an angry darkness at that.”Marcus Aurelius said, “Live not as though there were a thousand years ahead of you. Fate is at your elbow; make yourself good while life and power are still yours.”