You know, brothers and sisters, that our visit to you was not without results. 2 We had previously suffered and been treated outrageously in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in the face of strong opposition. 3 For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. 4 On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. 5 You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. 6 We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority. 1 Thessalonians 2:1-6
in the middle of this passage is the phrase “We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.” Pleasing people is so easy until you realize that they will never be satisfied.
I recall actress Patricia Heaton making a statement that rings so true, because in her Hollywood world, image and pleasing others is critical to success: “On a personal level, as a Christian, it will not be Barbra Streisand I’m standing in front of when I have to make an accounting of my life.”
Heaton understands clearly that she will not have to answer to Streisand or any other person in the world when her life is through. The sad truth, though, is that they all will stand and give an account.
I say they, but we should probably bring it closer to home.
While it’s easy to denigrate the selfish and hedonistic ways of the elite, pleasing people is a very natural thing to do. We are easily programmed by the media to want more because we deserve more and “quite frankly, we’re worth it!” We laugh at these words, but they’re truer than we know. When this philosophy is drilled into you daily (in a variety of formats and methods) for years, you begin believing it.
If man were not in the picture, it would be easy to please God. We all have “filters” for what we do or do not say around others (even those who say they don’t have filters still have them – they’re harder to find but they exist). Those filters do come in handy but they also can be a hindrance.
The goal then is to become like the 1960s Klondike Kat “Savoir-Faire is everywhere!” What does that mean exactly? According to Wikipedia: savoir-faire is French noun phrase that means being adaptable and adroit, knowing what to do in any situation.
Fortunately, we have the Holy Spirit to guide, prompt, and filter what we say if we let Him. He’s also there to help us speak out when we need to. The Holy Spirit is the ultimate savoir-faire so it’s always wise to be guided by Him.
Very few of us want to be people pleasers. But as long as we are in this body, we will struggle to one degree or another. Don’t worry though. The Holy Spirit will help us, that is, if we let Him.
We are not in the struggle alone.