Pleasing God

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 2:4b, ‘We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.’


Observations: Paul has been writing about how the Christians in Thessalonica have responded to the gospel (1:4-10). And he reminds them that he didn’t share the gospel from impure motives. He wasn’t trying to deceive or trick them (2:3). He wasn’t saying what they wanted to hear, or what would make him popular. What motivates Paul in sharing the gospel is a desire ‘not to please men but God.’ What motivates Paul is doing God’s will, what pleases God. And this desire to do what pleases God is a constant in Paul’s life (the verb is in a present tense). In fact, Paul is very aware that God ‘tests’ his heart. God knows what motivates Paul, and Paul knows that he can’t hide his motivations from God. Again Paul uses a present tense indicating that God is always testing his motivations.


Application: Are you more concerned about what other people think of you or about what God thinks of you? Are you more afraid of people’s opinion or God’s opinion? So often we don’t say something even though we know it is the right thing to say, because we’re afraid of what others might think. Or we don’t do something we know God wants us to do because of how others might react. Of course we need to be sensitive to other people’s feelings, but not at the expense of doing God’s will. And that’s especially true when it comes to sharing the gospel. We need to share the gospel in a sensitive manner, but we shouldn’t let people’s opinions stop us from sharing the gospel.


Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, You have entrusted me with the greatest news ever, that through faith in Christ’s death on the cross my sin has been forgiven and I have been reconciled with You. And Lord, You want me to share that wonderful truth with other people. Lord, forgive me when I am afraid of what others might think of me, when I put my comfort before their eternal destiny. Lord, help me to do what pleases You and what brings You honour, rather than what pleases me or other people. May I proclaim the gospel both boldly and sensitively. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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