Tuesday, June 15, 2010

People Pleasers?

“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, do everything for God’s glory. Give no offense to the Jews or the Gentiles or the church of God, just as I also try to please all people in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.” (1 Corinthians 10:31-33)

In Chapter 1 of 1st Corinthians Paul has already said that the message of the cross is an offense to Jews and foolishness to Greeks. Comparing that statement with the verses above, clearly Paul is talking above about something other than the gospel message. When Paul says we should give no offense to the Jews or the Greeks or the church of God, he is obviously meaning something other than the message, and in fact, he is talking about the more practical matter of how we live our lives in the larger community.

The life principle here is to live our lives in ways that will cause others to glorify God. Two spin-offs of this principle come into play: 1) avoid any offensive behaviors, and 2) employ pleasing behaviors.

It may be hard for some to see Paul as a “people pleaser,” but that is actually how he describes himself. He wrote, “I try to please all the people in all things.” Never at the expense of truth, of course, but what Paul is suggesting is that we try to be people who are pleasant to be around.

Interestingly, sometimes in our zeal Christians who want to be seen as committed to the Lord will take on an aura of harshness. In some folks’ eyes, that seems to be the epitome of one given over to God, but in reality it wins few people to the Lord. We might need to remember that bees are drawn more to honey than to vinegar. It is one thing to be committed to the truth of the gospel, regardless of what people think of it. It is another thing to behave in ways that cause people not to want to seek the Lord.

What gives glory to God is when people are drawn to the Lord because they feel loved and accepted when they are around us.

Lord, We do indeed stand firm in You for Your truth. Help us to be as committed to being those who are pleasant to be around, so that others may be drawn to You through us. Amen.

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