So many of us are inveterate pleasers. Our desire to please people is so deep in our hearts that we are not even conscious of it. It is just the way we live life. It is as strong in our lives as the pull of gravity. We want to please our parents, our spouse, our friends, our boss, our teacher, our co-workers, and strangers. We want to please anybody and everybody. We want people to like us.
Paul destroys this deep, subconscious, gravity-like tendency when he declares, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
This is not a call to be mean to people, ignore them, or not care about them. Rather, it is a call to live for an audience of One, to live for the approval of Christ alone. Ironically, it is when I am no longer seeking to please people that I am free to love people. If I am not a pleaser, I can focus on loving the person rather than pleasing them, on their needs and not my comfort.
To live as a pleaser, trying to please anybody and everybody is a recipe for failure and frustration. To live as a servant of Christ, pleasing Him alone—that’s a recipe for freedom. There is great freedom in living for an audience of One.