Have I mentioned I’m a people pleaser? Just in case I haven’t shared that, let me do so now. I’m a people pleaser! But no, I’m not proud of it.
I have had to learn how to reign that natural inclination in and turn it around. I cannot please people. I will never please anyone fully, and even those I please somewhat will not be pleased with me all the time. I just can’t do it!
So, I have had to learn that God is the only one I can aim to please. But even that’s a tough one for me. You see, I’m also a perfectionist. I know I cannot please God fully because I am imperfect. That causes an immense struggle within me. If I cannot please Him completely, then can I please Him at all? Can there really be any success in perfect pleasing from imperfect me?
Into my dilemma comes an amazing passage from Romans.
For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. Romans 8:5-9
These verses seem so negative at first glance, but do you see how precious they are to a perfectionistic people pleaser? God has made a way for me to please Him! It is utterly impossible if my mind is set on the fleshly way of life, such as is the case when I live my life as a people pleaser. Such is also the case when I try to please God from a human perspective through my works.
But, in comes the Holy Spirit. Oh my goodness! What a gift! The Spirit can please God. He always has! When Jesus left this earth, His gift to His followers – to me – was the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. When I live surrendered to the Spirit within me, I can please God!
It’s funny, but I’ve never thought of my people pleasing tendency in a positive light. It has always been something negative that I have needed to push away and destroy. But I am beginning think differently. You see, my desire to please motivates me to hunger to please God. That desire to please God motivates me to seek out whatever avenue is necessary to accomplish that purpose. The only avenue is the Spirit. I have to abide in the Spirit on a daily basis in order to please God. Consequently, my desire to please motivates me to live in the Spirit.
These verses in Romans contain the most precious promise in the world to a people pleaser. We can please! We can please the God of all creation. We can please the One we were created to please. We can do it simply by receiving His gift of the Holy Spirit, abiding in Him daily. Oh yes, that is a precious promise indeed!