We all know the frustration of trying to please other people who just simply cannot be pleased. No matter how hard one tries, others’ expectations are never met. The bar is set high – even out of reach. There is always the feeling that you could have done better, which leaves you with an empty feeling of despair.
One of the beautiful blessings of Christianity is the relief from trying to meet others’ expectations. The Christian life has a better goal… living for and pleasing God. This does not give us a license to be abrasive, nor does it mean we can earn God’s favor by being “good enough.” The Christian’s behavior is guided by a burning desire to do God’s will because He has done so much for us. We love to please Him. We love to live for Him. We know we will fall short every day, but we also know we can approach the throne of God – His measure and standard is not flawlessness, but faithfulness.
Jesus taught His hearers to strive for God’s approval rather than man’s endorsement when He said, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 6:1). The apostle Paul wrote, “trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:10). Regarding his own ministry he wrote, “…so we speak, not as pleasing men but God, who examines our hearts” (Thessalonians 2:4).
If you want to have joy and peace in your life, put your energy toward pleasing God. By His grace He will smile upon you as you seek His approval. There are two benefits: 1) those who are real and genuine will appreciate the direction of your life; 2) God will indeed be pleased and the eternal direction of your life will be very pleasing to you.