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 Men Pleasers

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Rob McMichael
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PostSubject: Men Pleasers   Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:58 am

Galatians 1:10
"For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ."

Paul's words here struck my heart. I can think of no person in the Bible that was more devoted to his calling to preach the gospel than Paul. Think of his descriptions in some of the epistles:
  • Prisoner of Christ (Philemon 1)
  • Slave of Christ Jesus (Romans 1:1)
  • Bond-Servant of Christ (Philippians 1:1, Titus 1:1)
  • Apostle of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:1, 2 Corinthians 1:1, Galatians 1:1, Ephesians 1:1, Colossians 1:1, 1 Timothy 1:1, 2 Timothy 1:1)

And these descriptions were just in the introduction! Many other times Paul refers to his calling in the gospel and that a life lived doing anything else would leave him miserable and devoid of his purpose. The word used in Romans 1:1 is best translated as "slave", which is meaning that the entirety of the individual is property of the master. How anxious am I to tell others that I am property of Christ? My actions are not my own, my life is not my own, my business is not my own. Everything I am and do is in complete control of my master. If only this were more true in my own life.Now, the reason this hit my heart so heavy was a matter of "revealed truth" and "conviction". Revealed truth is what leads to conviction but they each struck my heart individually.

Revealed Truth
When reading the scripture, and I mean really reading the scripture, God will always reveal truth to the truth seeker. I have found myself reading out of habit with the mindset of "well my little plan here says I should read these chapters..." What a way to come at the scripture. I have also found myself with the mindset of "this is what I think the scripture teaches so I should find verses that give the idea of this theology." Both are mindsets that I never want to have when it comes to the Bible. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 2 that all truth is revealed by the Spirit, for only the Spirit knows God (the Spirit is God). Should my attitude then be one of submission to have truth revealed to me by the Spirit? I pray that it is so. Now when the Spirit reveals truth is where my heart was affected. As I am reading and the Spirit reveals truth to me I believe there are three options:
  1. Reject the Truth
  2. Delay the Truth
  3. Obey the Truth

In rejection of the truth, my attitude would be to see what the Spirit is revealing to me and to have the attitude of "no, that can't be what the scripture teaches because I have been taught this... or I think this... or I want this..." What an attitude to have. Now, a side point may be that a young Christian should not dive into the scripture with the purpose of having truth revealed beyond the spiritual growth of him/her. For instance, a parent would not give an infant a nice 12 oz juicy steak for dinner. That parent would wisely know that the child can only digest certain foods until he/she matures and grows and can handle such food. God is the same way with our spiritual appetite. God is the revealer of truth so let Him do the feeding. There is nothing wrong with "studying to make one wise" but allow God to be the guidance for studying. But I digress. The point here is that my attitude can sometimes be to reject truth based on my presuppositions. God is the revealer of truth and I do believe that He inspired all scripture so He knows what truth is contained. Let Him reveal it and do not reject His truth. In delaying the truth, my attitude becomes one of "well I do see that is truth, but I just can't put that into practice yet". Circumstances in life, whether it be a job, friends, family, school, etc can cloud my judgment on how to deal with truth. I can make decisions as to what I should do with truth based on what I think others will say. This is where the verse from Galatians is especially powerful. If my attitude is this "delaying of truth" then I am what Paul says... not a servant of Christ, but a pleaser of men. I am too concerned about what my friends will think, or what my parents will say. I am too concerned about how this will affect my testimony at my job or at school. I see the truth and I acknowledge it, but I am not ready to be "a servant of Christ", I would rather be a "man-pleaser".The final option is then to obey the truth. At this point I am a true servant of Christ. My devotion is first and foremost to my Savior who is the sole owner of my life. I see the truth revealed to me and obey it with no delay. If Paul was to delay the truth revealed to him, think of the amount of Gentiles that would have possibly missed the gospel of Christ. Think of how many local churches would not have been established. But Paul had no delay in the truth revealed to him. He put the truth above family, friends, job, and his own will. He truly became a slave for Christ and was "pedal to the metal" from the moment of conversion. Oh how I long to be like Paul!

Conviction
A conviction is a convinced conscience. True biblical conviction comes from revealed truth. Further, a conviction can only come from truth that is accepted and not rejected. A person that is delaying the truth they see must not have too strong of a conviction about it, or they are going against their conviction for other reasons. This is a dangerous game to play. I will give a personal example. Some time ago, I began to feel convicted about the type of movies I was subjecting myself to in light of Philippians 4:8-9. Many would know this as "the grid". So many of the movies that were passing into my mind were leaving messages, impressing images, and provoking thought that didn't seem to make it through the grid. At first, I was hesitant to obey this conviction. I delayed the truth that I saw. Worried about what others might say when I'm with my friends and they want to watch a certain movie. I didn't want to be the one to say "well I don't actually want to watch that because _____." Then I would be pegged as a "holy roller". So I delayed the truth and put aside my conviction. How unenjoyable movies became when all I could think about was how these movies just weren't lining up with scripture and heavily went against my convinced conscience that it was wrong. Going against a convinced conscience, in my belief, is sin. See here what Martin Luther said:

"Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason. I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other - my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise. God help me. Amen."

There had to come a time where I stood by my conviction because it was laid upon my heart and mind by the revealed truth of the Word of God. My attitude was not to please men, or be accepted by friends/family. My attitude was to please God. This is just one simple example ( I'm sure there are others with much better examples than my own).Some truth will be more costly than others. I have seen truth pull apart family ties, sever relationships,and destroy friendships. But what is my attitude? To please men, or to please God? " If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ." Paul tells us straight that we cannot do both. We must make the choice to follow truth, or please men. I pray that in all things I will be able to have the courage and confidence to be marked by pleasing God. That I will be able to say with Paul, "a slave for Christ".
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PostSubject: Re: Men Pleasers   Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:47 am

Amen brother. I too find great inspiration in the role modeling of Paul. He was actually the one that got me on fire for the word. You have made many essential points for any one claiming to follow God to ponder. I thank you much for sharing.

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PostSubject: Re: Men Pleasers   Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:54 am

Whoa...now I know how Job felt when The Lord spoke to him from out of a whirlwind !
Feeling a bit dizzy.
Eloquently spoken, so complex a subject yet written in such a manner that it is well understood (that is a tremendous gift in itself)provokes one to truly examine one's conscience.
A most inspired, inspiring post.
I thank you and I thank the Lord for how He ministers to us through others.
especially related to:" In delaying the truth, my attitude becomes one of "well I do see that is truth, but I just can't put that into practice yet". Circumstances in life, whether it be a job, friends, family, school, etc can cloud my judgment on how to deal with truth. I can make decisions as to what I should do with truth based on what I think others will say."
Got schooled !
But Lord it was soooo refreshing.
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Rob McMichael
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PostSubject: Re: Men Pleasers   Wed Sep 07, 2011 11:00 am

I am very thankful that what the Lord has dealt to my heart can be of the same help to others. I am so thankful for finding this forum! I am encouraged myself by many things I read on here and look forward to many more! Thank you for your kind words!
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PostSubject: Re: Men Pleasers   Wed Sep 07, 2011 11:10 am

Beloved Brother in Christ,
The questions you are asking are so profound the answers you already know but with every answer come infinite questions.
Oh...to have the eyes you have at such a young age.
Take it for what it's worth, no bigger fool has there ever been than I.

May God continue to Bless You.
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Jesusfreak91
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PostSubject: Re: Men Pleasers   Wed Sep 07, 2011 3:17 pm

That truly was a word to me, I am a young saved Christian and im used to being a "people pleaser" but im also learning that when you please God, men wont be happy because you're not doing what they want. I saw an R rated movie, and even though i knew it was wrong, I watched it because it was new and interesting but then the Devil makes sin attractive and Galatians 1:10 will definitely be a verse that I aim on not only memorizing but praticing. Pray for me as I walk with Christ and strive to please Him
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Rob McMichael
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PostSubject: Re: Men Pleasers   Wed Sep 07, 2011 3:24 pm

Jesusfreak91,
I know all about those struggles (I am only 24). I was saved at age 18 but it took me too long to figure out that if I was going to live for Christ than I had to full submit. These truth smacked me right in the face. It is somewhat comical because when I started to get really convicted about the movies I would watch I had many friends say "well if we go by what you say and pass everything through the grid of Philippians 4:8-9 then we shouldn't watch anything!" It was said in such a sarcastic and demeaning tone to me. But is it not true? Does what we want and think we "deserve" change the Truth of God? Absolutely not! Sin has so twisted even the minds of Christians that we think it is OK to let a certain amount of evil into our lives because we NEED some entertainment. Kind of backwards to what the Bible teaches. I will pray for you as you pray for me dear child of God! Philippians 4:13!
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PostSubject: Re: Men Pleasers   Sat Jan 02, 2016 7:08 pm

Excellent!

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