Obedience: People-Pleaser or God-Pleaser?

We (Steph & Jill) decided to team up on this post after a conversation we had on Obedience.  Both of us remember growing up trying to please our parents and teachers.  We wanted to make them proud and to be happy with the choices we were making. Can you relate? As adults, I’m sure all of us oftentimes find ourselves continuing on this path, aiming to please our spouse, children, co-workers, and friends.  In doing so, many of us listen to and follow the guidance of others, feeling satisfaction from getting the approval of those around us.  

As we all grow older and mature though, we come to the realization that a piece is missing from the equation.  Yes, it’s amazing to want to please your parents or spouse and do what we think is the right thing, but where is God in all of this?  Isn’t it more important to do what God asks of us? I don’t know about you all, but we would much rather rely on our all-knowing Savior for guidance.  Doesn’t it make more sense to listen to our Father who created us and loves us beyond measure?

Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
Isaiah 54:10 (NIV)

Pleasing God comes more naturally when He becomes our focus and not others. Living for and trying to please our parents, husband, kids, family, and friends will never fulfill us the way God can. Those relationships are beautiful gifts from God, but they should never replace the most important relationship. Trying to replace God with other people and things of this world can be destructive and lead us down a dangerous path.

You cannot serve two masters at the same time.  You will hate one master and love the other.  Or you will be loyal to one and not care about the other.
Luke 16:13 (ERV)

You may have also thought at one point or another… “I’m not hearing the audible voice of God, so how am I supposed to know what he wants me to do?”  Some things are laid out so clearly in the Bible about how we are to behave and treat others.  But what about when very specific life decisions are supposed to be made and we are in a state of confusion?  How about when things are not so black and white and we are left wondering how God is leading us to respond and act? Or even in those difficult times when we know what God wants us to do, but we flat out just don’t want to do it?  I am sure all of us have been there and have felt that same internal struggle.  How do you know what God wants you to do and then be able to have the strength to be obedient?  

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
Proverbs 3:5 (ESV)

The two of us surely don’t have all the answers and we are challenged day in and day out with the same things you struggle with.  BUT, we do know that in order to “hear” God, we need to open up those lines of communication and PRAY.  Instead of going straight to the phone to vent and ask your friend what you should do, let’s go to God FIRST in prayer.  Now if we could just do this in the moment, because, let’s face it, when we put our trust in the people around us, they often fall short.  Let’s be sure to add that to the top of our prayer list as well!

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
Matthew 6:33 (NLT)

We have found that another way God speaks to us is through His Word.  Unfortunately, humans are in a battle with the desires of this world on a daily basis. That’s why it’s so important to arm ourselves with scripture.  Spending time in the Bible each day allows us to get to know God on a deeper level and grow in our relationship with Him as He guides us along the right path.  We can then better-discern His voice, compared to our enemy or those of this world. Not confident that the nudge you are feeling is from God?  Ask yourself, “Does this align with what the Bible says and what I know of Jesus?”  Then, open up scripture and do some digging!

After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his own voice.
John 10:4 (NLT)

As we move forward, we pray that all of us continue to seek God’s will for our lives and grow in our relationship with Him.  Lord God, please give us clarity and allow YOU to be our Captain.  Anchor our journey in Your Word, so that when the waves come rushing in, we can stay calm and focus on Your voice guiding us. Provide us with the necessary strength to be obedient and follow Your lead. Instill in us a desire to please only you, Father.  Bless us on this journey as we walk confidently with you by our side. 

And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed – all because you have obeyed me.
Genesis 22:18

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