As we look more into where our focus lies, we need to examine ourselves. Are we more concerned with what others think of us or are we concerned with what God thinks? Who are we trying to please? Trying to be a people pleaser focuses more on fleshly desires than Spiritual desires. The Apostle Paul admonished the Romans, “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.” (Romans 8:5 KJV)
As I was reading this Scripture and listening to a devotional on this verse, the Holy Spirit reminded me that I may have a problem with this. My mind went quickly to when I was young, still living at home with my folks. My father was a Born-Again Believer. He was very strict in the way he raised us kids, and I guess a lot of the way he disciplined and dealt with us could have been attributed to the times we lived in or the way he was raised. Daddy gave compliments and praise; however, it was only when he felt that it was deserved, and those times, to my young mind, seemed few and far between. From the time I was around ten or eleven, I started to look for ways to please my Dad, and I looked to him to see if I had done something that pleased him. Once, when I was a teenager, I remember, we were talking about this very thing and he told me, “It shouldn’t make any difference what I think.” I believe he was trying to tell me that my focus should be on pleasing God, not him. But that isn’t how I took it. That may have been where my people-pleasing began. I have always wanted to please God, but it seems as if trying to please people was high on my list as well. I’ve always wanted people to think well of me, of how I dress, of what my house looks like, etc. My husband says I am always looking for the “appropriate” thing to do and speak. The flesh seems to win out more times than not.
I’m sure that I’m not the only person who has dealt with this. So, how do we combat this? How do we focus our minds, our desires, on what God wants in our lives? So, what does God want from us? He wants our obedience, but we must first recognize that our focus is misplaced and purposely endeavor to change our perspective through prayer. By confessing our faults to Jesus and asking for His help to put our focus on doing and thinking about what pleases Him rather than those around us, we can turn from our fleshly desires to the Spiritual desires God would have us focus upon. We also need to be in God’s Word regularly, “Establish my footsteps in Your word, And do not let any iniquity have dominion over me.” (Psalm 119:133 NASB 1995) The more we are in communion with God through prayer and the reading of His Word, the more we will be focused on living in a manner that brings Him glory and honor. “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (Colossians 3:2 ESV) We need to be more concerned with pleasing God than man.
When we are tempted to be more concerned with what others think of us, we need to remember, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV) We need to put our focus on God’s opinion of us. Knowing how much He loves us and that He thinks about us constantly, (Jeremiah 29:11) we can then begin to seek after those Spiritual desires that please Him.