By: Amy Dalke
When I see a speed radar sign, I naturally accelerate.
Keep Off the Grass signs are like invitations to Walk All Over It.
And sometimes I’m that person who will tell you what you want to hear…because I want you to like me.
But God keeps changing me. The more I read his word and seek to understand what it says, the more I grasp who I really am in Christ, and what it really means to be free. If you are a people-pleasing rule-breaker who desperately tries to be a rule-follower, I hope you’ll find some freedom in these words.
3 Things People Pleasers & Rule-Followers Needs to Know.
1) You cannot earn enough Holy Points to win God’s approval. Because there is no righteousness apart from Christ. You can be as morally straight as they come; you can give money to the church; and do nice things for poor people at Christmas. All this is very kind of you, but it won’t win you one ounce of God’s favor. Righteousness comes by faith alone (Galatians 2:16).
Some of us rule-breakers figure out in a hurry that we can never live up to the Law’s impossible standards, so we give up trying. Others (rule-followers) are determined to behave perfectly just in case Jesus was joking. I’ve lived on both sides of that fence, and neither one is all that awesome. Which is why there’s a lot to be said for that faith thing the Bible talks so much about.
(2) Popularity is overrated. For years (and by that I mean at least 34), it would stress me out if I knew someone was mad at me. I would lose sleep over the most trivial matters, and would spend far too much time and energy people-pleasing efforts.
But I’ve learned (I’m still learning) that if my aim is to be popular, I’m better off not bringing Jesus into the conversation. Because he’s not exactly the most comfortable table topic.
Telling the truth tends to generate applause only when it suits the interests of the world. They’ll cheer you on when truth aligns with what they want to hear; and they’ll quickly slam you when reality is uncomfortable.
When we’re putting all our eggs in the faith basket (versus our point system), we don’t have to bend the truth out of fear that we might offend someone. But the biggest point here is that since the cross satisfied all our sin debt, and God accepts us in Christ just the way we are. So I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Suzy Q’s opinion of you is not all that world-rocking at the end of the day.
“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.” (Galatians 1:10)
[Which does not mean that you throw all caution to the wind and start telling people they aren’t God so their opinion is dead to you. The point here is Love.]
(3) The Gospel is not a mini-course in behavior modification. The Gospel is the power for true life change that happens as God transforms us from the inside, out. (Galatians 5:1-5) Jesus isn’t like, “hey, get yourself fixed up and then we’ll talk.” Because hello, we can’t do that on our own. See point #1.
More to that point, the Gospel has had no meaningful effect on my life if I still think God is mad at me when I blow it. He’s not keeping score, and heaven doesn’t have a ranking system that determines my accessibility to God. (Galatians 2:11-21)
What about you?
Do you value the opinion of others over truth?
Do you spend life just trying to be good enough?
Praying that today, you live a little more free than ever…