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Friday, September 7, 2018

Focus on Pleasing God, Not People

In review of 1 Thessalonians 2:4b it says, “Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts” (NLT).

Today’s verse comes from 1 Thessalonians 2:4-6. In it Paul explains to the Thessalonian believers that he and the other disciples that were with him, speak as messengers approved by God entrusted with the Good News. Their purpose was to please God, not people. As Paul explains, it is God alone who will examine the motives of everyone's hearts. Never once did they try to win the Thessalonians with flattery. And God was their witness that they were not pretending to be friends just to get their money or their praise.

As I reflect on this, there is a danger to watch out for in trying to persuade others. I may be tempted to alter my position just enough to make the message more palatable or to use flattery or praise to influence. I can see in these passages that Paul never changed his message to make it more acceptable. However he did tailor his methods to each audience. Although my presentation may be altered to be appropriate to the situation, I am cautioned that the truth of the Good News must never be compromised.

Any flattery on my part would be phony, and would cover up my real intentions. I need to consider whether I’m being honest and straightforward in my words and actions, or do I tell people what they want to hear in order to get what I want or to get ahead. When I proclaim God's truth I have a responsibility to be honest.

When Paul was with the Thessalonians, he did not flatter them, seek their praise, or become a burden to them. He and the other disciples focused their efforts on presenting God's message of salvation. Those I’m around or communicate with can have their lives changed by God, not myself. As I live my life and witness to others for Christ, my focus should not be on the impression I make, but rather it reflect and point to him.

Furthermore, God did not make me to be what somebody else wants me to be. God made me to be me. If you’re going to become all I can be, I need to refuse to be defined by others or culture. I’m reminded in Hebrews 11:24, “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter” (NIV).

Moses had an identity crisis. He was born a Hebrew slave but raised as Egyptian royalty, the grandson of Pharaoh. When he grew up, he faced two options: He could pretend to be Pharaoh’s grandson for the rest of his life and live a life of luxury and fame and power. Or he could admit who he really was: a Jew. If he admitted who he really was, his family would kick him out to live with slaves the rest of his life. He would be disgraced and humiliated and live a life of pain and drudgery. Given the choice today, which would I choose?

Most people today are living lies. They’re trying to be people they’re not. But in Scripture I see that Moses refused to live a lie because he was a man of integrity. He insisted on being who God made him to be despite all kinds of peer pressure.

I need to consider, Who am I letting determine my identity?

The Bible says this: “Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts” (1 Thessalonians 2:4 NLT).

The first resolution I need to make is this: “I resolve that I will no longer let other people press me into their mold. I’m going to be what God wants me to be. I’m going to do what God wants me to do, and I’m going to fulfill the plan that God has for my life, not somebody else’s plan for my life.”

This is real success, being exactly who I was created to be and nothing more.

Bottom Line:
Our purpose to to please God, not others. God examines the motives of our heart.

What this means to me:
Like Paul and the other disciples, it’s my purpose to please God, not people. For it is God alone who examines the motives of my heart.

In summary, my purpose is to please God and not others. God knows my motives. I need to be who God made me to be and to do what God wants me to do.  From an integrity standpoint, I need to refuse to live any kind of lie. I need to consider revamping some of the daily affirmations I use to have and review in my daily quiet times. They were affirmations for what I would live my life for.

Today Father I pray for your continued wisdom and guidance in all I do. Help me to quickly inventory the work I have at hand and list out who is working on it and estimated time frames so that I can answer questions later today on project timeline and commitments. Help me to be just who you made me to be. Help guide me to make choices to do the things you want me to do. These things I ask in your Son Jesus name, amen.