Too many people think they have to sell their soul to the church and the people in it. We try to please everyone and work our butts off to make sure people know that we are “serious” about the Lord’s work. Before long we become experts at people-pleasing. The problem is that it’s not Biblical. Christians leaders are not called to be people-pleasers. Everyone say it with me: “No more people-pleasing.” One more time: “No more people-pleasing.” That’s a good start. Here are some practical steps to help you even more.
1. Don’t make your ministry your identity. You are a ministry leader – and I’d put money down that you’re a good one. But you are more than that. You’re a child of the King first and foremost. You’re part of the redeemed – the bride of Christ! One danger of being obsessed with what people think about you is that you forget what God thinks about you.
2. Crave the approval of God – not people. Crave is a strong word. When you crave something, it’s all you can think about. You’ll even ask for it. When Jesus was baptized in Matthew 3, the Father spoke from Heaven and said, “This is my Son… with him I am well pleased.” This is the goal! Let God ride shotgun for a while and put people-pleasing in the back seat.
3. Learn to say no. The words “yes” and “no” are the two most powerful words in the human vocabulary because they have the power to shape your future. You simply can’t do everything that is asked of you. If you don’t say no when you need to say no, you can’t say yes when God calls you to say yes.
4. Be the rock of Gibraltar and don’t move. (Yep. The picture above is that rock.) When you start saying no and stop living your life to please people, get ready because someone won’t like it. You may even get the “spiritual” guilt trip – but stand firm.
Listen to Paul: “Obviously, I’m not trying to be a people pleaser! No, I am trying to please God. If I were still trying to please people, I would not be Christ’s servant” (Galatians 1:10 NLT).
So, how are you saying no to people-pleasing?