TODAY'S WORD 4U 2DAY
Identity (1)‘We are not trying to please people but God.’ 1 Thessalonians 2:4 NIV
We can often fall into the trap of people-pleasing. We find ourselves performing, or acting a certain way, in order to gain people’s approval. We become tied down by shoulds and oughts, thinking ‘I should do this’ and ‘I ought to do that’. When what we really need to be doing is meeting other people’s needs knowing that we already have God’s approval. When we’re trapped in the people-pleasing cycle we end up being controlled by the opinions of others and it can feel like we’re constantly living on an emotional rollercoaster. And that’s not how God wants us to live. Paul was free to speak the truth in love: to confront people or to be gentle with them. When someone told Paul they didn’t like him, he didn’t worry about it because his security and self-worth weren’t built on their acceptance. ‘We speak as those approved by God’ (v. 4 NIV). Paul didn’t go around comparing himself with others, demonstrating his superiority by trying to be the best or the one who’s always in charge. Knowing he already had God’s approval set him free from worrying about those things and meant he could enjoy the life God had in mind for him. When we forget that we already have God’s approval, and that our identity is in Him, we stress ourselves out trying to be everything to everyone. The truth is, living for God won’t always make us the most popular and people won’t necessarily understand us or our decisions. Paul wrote: ‘If my goal was popularity, I wouldn’t bother being Christ’s slave’ (Galatians 1:10 MSG). But knowing we have God’s approval gives us the strength to deal with criticism and conflict because we’re secure in our identity.
Get a load of coins and put them in one of your coat pockets. Every time you feel yourself people-pleasing, move one into the other pocket. Count how many you’ve got at the end of the day and try and improve on it by getting fewer coins tomorrow.