The People Pleasing Pattern
We’re a culture built around seeking approval and people-pleasing. A definition of people-pleasing would be the tendency to cater to other’s demands and preferences to the harm or violation of one’s personal convictions or well-being.
Here are some irrational beliefs that people-pleasers are caught up in:
- “I must be popular with everyone.” No, everyone is not going to like you. People are fickle, and the rules change. It’s important to say to yourself, “Hey, I’m going to be true to to who and what God has made me to be, and my convictions.”
- “I must do nothing to cross other people.” If you think you have to keep everyone happy, you are going to be disappointed. If they can’t stay happy on their own, you’re not going to make them happy. We can try to bless and encourage people, but the moment you feel responsible for making someone happy, you become a people-pleaser.
- “If someone doesn’t accept me, it must mean that I failed.” Human rejection is nothing more than an expression of someone’s opinion. One opinion should not dictate failure as it relates to my life. There are always going to be people who will have different opinions and different tastes. God has given us His approval, or extends His approval, to a life that honors Him. If we will honor God, God’s validation supersedes anyone else’s validation or approval of our lives.
Two downfalls of people-pleasing include:
1) You will be in a position where you will deny what you know to be true. Aside from the divine will and purpose of God’s plan, did you know that it was the Pharisees who turned the crowd against Jesus? (On the other hand, there were some Pharisees who believed Jesus was Lord.) If we fail to stand with the truth, we lose the witness that is associated with it. Our alignment with truth will release conviction and captivate the attention of those whom we’re trying to reach.
Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. (John 12:42-43)
There were rulers who looked in His eyes, they saw His miracles, they saw His life, and they said, “He’s for real, but if we go along with Him, we’ll be put out and they won’t like what we say.”
2) You will be in a position where you will make false concessions. You will no longer make a decision based on what is right or wrong, but on the basis of who is around you. We recognize that as weakness. Remember Pilate? He wanted to let Jesus go because he knew that the Man was innocent, but he saw the angry crowd. He let public opinion prevail and forever made infamous the simple washing of hands. It affected his ability to make a right decision by letting a murderer be set free, and not the One who would set all men free.
Why do people give in to fear of man? God made us to want to please so that we would want to please Him. He made us to want to live our lives to give pleasure to the Creator. To know that you have the smile of God on your life means you can meet with other’s frowns and it’s okay.
Here’s the key to break the squeeze: Remember the rewards of pleasing God. The Bible says pleasing God brings blessing. He’s the change based on what some folks are saying about you this week. God knows us and He still chooses to love us! once you have God’s approval, who else is there to impress?
But as we have approved by God, to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts. For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness–God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. (I Thessalonians 2:4-6)
Rejection: Darkness’s Weapon of Choice
Rejection has become satan’s modern weapon of choice. Many would-be testimonies in the making have been short-circuited due to this wanna-be terrorist. Jesus gave us Heaven’s remedy for earth’s untouchables. He told them to “shake off the dust.”
Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. And heal the sick there, and say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near you.” But whatever city you enter, and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, “The very dust of your city which clings to us we wife off against you. Nevertheless, know this, that the kingdom of God has come near you.” (Luke 10:8-11)
“Shake off the dust” means to release the rejection like a boxer slipping his opponent’s punch, and keep attacking. Getting free from the spirit of rejection is as easy as shedding some unwanted dust. Don’t let the devil shut you down with the threat of “dust.” Brush off the threat of the disapproval of people and continue being a witness for Christ. You’ve been anointed by God to see miracles and do some dust bustling! We’ve got to understand there’s a battle. Don’t let the residue of rejection cling to you. It’s still worth it to witness, even if people reject you. Somebody’s soul is worth any embarrassment that you may fear.
This is a book excerpt from Prophetic Evangelism: Empowering a Generation to Seize Their Day by Sean Smith. You can get your own copy of Prophetic Evangelism today and also connect with Sean through his website, Facebook, and Twitter @RevSeanSmith and @PointBlankIntl!