“For do I now persuade men, or God? 0r do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).
Accepting more responsibilities than you can handle, not sharing your true opinion, making flattering comments, not setting limits…Does this sound familiar? These are things we do when we try to please everyone. At first glance, this behavior might seem generous to us. We could deceive ourselves into thinking that we do it for the good of others when, in reality, we are being selfish.
A while ago, I had a chat with a friend to advise her to set limits on her relationship with another friend. I must admit that I postponed and avoided that conversation for months. Why? Because I was afraid she would think I was jealous of her relationship. I delayed because I was trying to protect my reputation. In Nice, Sharon Hodde Miller wrote, “Following Jesus involves following a Man who said harsh and surprising truths, who was honest with His disciples even when it hurt, who condemned the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, and overturned the tables in the temple.” In order to follow Jesus, we have to love others enough to sacrifice our comfort and put our reputation at stake.
Consider the lives of the prophets who were hated and rejected because of their message: Jeremiah was thrown into a well and sank into the mud (Jeremiah 38), Jezebel hated Elijah and tried to kill him (1 Kings 19), Daniel was cast into the lion’s den (Daniel 6), and it was said that the earth was not able to bear Amos’ words (Amos 7:10). The list could go on and on. Jesus Himself was accused of being possessed by the devil! (Matthew 12). However, though despised and persecuted by those they wanted to help, they all remained faithful to the truth.
When we observe the life of Jesus, a clear pattern emerges: sacrificed love. Miller reflected, “His love produced courage, and His courage, sacrifice, which implies that we cannot claim to be His people if we are not willing to follow Him in this.” Today Jesus invites us to love with courage and integrity. Today we can follow in His footsteps and learn from Him.
Dear Lord, thank You, because Jesus is our example in everything. I want to learn to love like Him, with courage and integrity. Today I open my heart to Your teachings and humbly receive your instructions. Today, I’m looking for Your favor, not that of other people. Amen.