Thursday, April 05, 2007

Diagnosing the Spiritual Problems of People-Pleasers

Here are characteristics or symptoms of the prideful heart of a people-pleaser:

1. He fears he displeasure of man more than the dis pleasure of God.

The People-pleaser fears the wrong things – the disapproval of men. Fear can be good or bad. The right kind of fear (the fear of God for example of the fear of sin and its consequences) can be a good thing and keep us from danger. The wrong kind of fear leads us into danger. Proverbs 29:25 says that 'The fear of man brings a snare.' John 12:42-43 is a key passage because it shows ruler loving the approval of men more than God.

42Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; 43for they loved the glory (approval) that comes from man more than the glory (approval) that comes from God. John 12:42-43
You see, when people pleasers interacts with others his thoughts immediately an instinctively run in the direction of selfishness, anxiety and fear.

“I am not prepared to meet this person.”
“What does he think of me?”
“I’ll probably make a fool of my-self.”
Their longings for the approval of others transcended their longings for God. People-Pleasers thought are immediately selfish, anxious and fearful. He is not a peacemaker, but a peace-lover which makes him a coward at heart.

2. He desires the praise of man more than the praise of God.
Peter is a great example who would never admit he was an approval junkie, but lied rather than face persecution.
Approval hunkies would say, “Look at all the good tings I do for God. Look at all the time I’ve invested in serving him! My whole life is built around faith. Surely I don’t love the approval of man above the approval of God.” This is very much like the scribes and Pharisees who wouldn’t have dreamed th they were a clear example of people-pleasers.

5They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, 6and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues 7and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others. Matthew 23:5-7
Even those tings that are religious in nature can be done with a hypocritical motive to gain approval.

1“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. 2“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 5“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. Matthew 6:1-5
This is seen also in Matthew 23:5-7 & Matthew 6:1-5 as the Pharisees did their deeds to be noticed by men. They were hypocrites nd did not really think of pleasing God.

3. He studies wha it takes to please man as much (if not more than) wha it takes to please God.
He is so sensitive to the countenances of others that he is trying to please that he spends time studying their interests, aversions, words, inflections, and body language. In loving others, the people-pleaser is really trying to find favor in who he is "loving." This often backfires on the people-pleaser when others see through his insincerity (Prov. 23:6-8 ).

6Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy; do not desire his delicacies, 7for he is like one who is inwardly calculating. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, but his heart is not with you. 8You will vomit up the morsels that you have eaten, and waste your pleasant words. Proverbs 23:6-8
4. His speach is designed to entice and flatter others to think of him well.
1 Thessalonians 2:4-5 makes a very clear connection between flattery and people-pleasing:

4 but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts. 5 For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed--God is witness.
5. He is a respecter of persons.

1My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. 2For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, 3and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” 4have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? James 2:1-4
A respecter of persons finds some temporal characteristic in his subject with which he is enthralled.

The people-pleaser also has a difficult time being objective in judgment because his desire for approval is often stronger than his desire for justice.

15“You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor. Leviticus 19:15


6. He is oversensitive to correction, reproof, and others allusions of dissatisfaction or disapproval on the part of others.
He is concered about his own glory or popularity. Correction or reproof is a threat to his reputation rather than an oprotunity for improvement. This oversensitivity is nothing less than pride. Richard Baxter, the prolific Puritan author, nicely connected the biblical dots for us on this point over three hundred years ago:

Pride causes men to hate reproof. The proud are presumptuous in finding fault with others, but do not love the person who reproves them. Though it is a duty which God himself commands (Lev. 19:170 as an expression of love and is contrary to hatred, yet it will make a proud man to be your enemy. 12Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold is a wise reprover to a listening ear. (Proverbs 25:12). 7Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury. 8Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you. (Proverbs 9:7-8). It embitters their hearts, and they consider themselves to be injured, and they will bear a grudge against you for it as though you were their enemy.
This oversensitivity may take the form of anger, bitterness, or hatred.

7. He outwardly renders eye service to man rather than inwardly sincere (from the heart) ministry to the Lord.
Both time the word eye service occurs in the Greek NT (Eph. 6:6; Co. 3:22) it is in reference to slaves. It is a term that means a service that is provided only while under scrutiny, or for the sake of appearance

5Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, 6not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man,... Ephesians 6:5-7

Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.
Colossians 3:22

When the eye-service employee speaks to his boss, he is more concerned with impressing him than he is with telling the truth. The person who gives eye service evaluates his success or failure not on the basis of whether God was pleased with his service, but rather on how well he performed.

8. He selfishly uses wisdom, abilities, and gifts that have been given to him for God's glory and the benefit of others for his own gloy and personal benefit.
The People-pleaser uses virtually every divine endowment given to him for the benefit of others and for the glory of God to make himself look good. He uses what he has been given to bring honor to himself rather than honor to God.

For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?
1 Corinthians 4:7
Everything good things given and every perfect gives is from above… James 1:17
9. He invests more of his personal recourses in establishing his own honor than he does in establishing God's honor.
The approval junkie daily preoccupation with his own honor drains his resources, preventing him from fulfilling using them for eternal purposes. His treasure is laid up on earth…

10. He is disconnected with the condition and proportion that God has appointed for him.
The people-pleaser is discontented with his status in life. He longs to have more authority, greater honor, more influence, and more wealth. Rather than being thankful he is an idolater.

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