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‘I’m not trying to win the approval of people.’

Galatians 1:10 NLT

People-pleasing does two things: 1) It makes us neglect our own needs in order to meet other people’s. 2) It causes us to make decisions based on their approval. We can end up feeling like we’re being walked over. Maybe we became a people-pleaser early in life to get the attention we needed and couldn’t get any other way. Or maybe we never learned to trust our own judgment, and instead relied on other people to make the decisions for us. The Bible says, ‘Fearing people is a dangerous trap’ (Proverbs 29:25 NLT), because it always backfires. Not only do others get upset with us, we end up disappointed with ourselves when things don’t work out. Peter struggled with people-pleasing. The night before the crucifixion when ‘a servant girl…said…“You were one of those with Jesus”…Peter denied it in front of everyone. “I don’t know what you’re talking about”’ (Matthew 26:69-70 NLT). Afterwards he ended up devastated over his failure. When Samuel confronted Saul about his decision to not completely destroy the Amalekites: ‘Saul admitted…“I was afraid of the people and did what they demanded”’ (1 Samuel 15:24 NLT). Paul, on the other hand, wrote, ‘I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.’ It’s good to be considerate, loving, and patient, but we can’t let ourselves be intimidated and manipulated: ‘For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline’ (2 Timothy 1:7 NIV). We shouldn’t let other people control our lives. Instead we should surrender our lives to God and allow Him to be the One to lead us.  What Now? If you’ve been trying to gain people’s approval by doing things they want you to do, ask God to show you how loved and accepted you already are by Him.

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