How affected are you by people who don’t seem to like you? Are your stress levels linked to the opinions of other people?

I can tell you I’ve lived almost a lifetime trying to please everyone. It’s exhausting; extremely self-deprecating. It’s unhealthy. But the way that the world sees┬áChristianity seems to require us to live pleasing others. I could say the number one reason people leave churches is because someone wasn’t ‘pleased’ – didn’t feel considered. And as much as it is important for a community of like-minded people to be inclusive and considerate, Christianity is not about pleasing people. It is about pleasing God.

I was recently driving home from an incredible talk by someone in my church. I am blessed enough to sit under the wisdom of some the greatest communicators and leaders (in business, ministry, leadership and education), but have found myself so full of lists of things that are considered ‘good’ that I don’t have the time to outwork any of it. The fact is, knowledge is useless if not applied. But we also need to decide what knowledge is worth applying!

That’s where I found myself in the car, turning off the highway. I spoke to God (something I recommend to anyone who breaths) and simply said, “There are so many lists that are considered ‘wise’, but instead of trying to please all of them – what pleases you?”

I think it’s time to place what pleases God at the top of our list. So, I went into the scriptures and found a few great priorities that please Him:

  1. Looking after your body

In the book of Romans, Paul tells us to offer our bodies as living sacrifices. I can tell you now, for a long time I thought that this would be way too unspiritual. But God gave us bodies. And if we are going to give Him our best, we need to look after and champion our physical health. It mentions that our bodies should be “holy” and “pleasing”.

Be honest – is your physical state holy? Is it honorable, blameless, fair, sacrificial, intentionally pure? Is your body pleasing? Does it look presentable? Is it functioning optimally? Have you given your body it’s best chance to thrive?

Yup. You may think that the gym is one of the most unspiritual places to be, but God cares about your body. And it pleases Him when you look after it.

2. Being filled with the Spirit

Weird alert!‘ What does that mean?

It simply means acknowledging the presence and relevance of God in your life. If you engage with Him in prayer, you are connecting spiritually to Him. The Holy Spirit is called a counsellor – He is the director of our souls and He helps us understand how to obey God. Many people say that the Bible is irrelevant. But the fact is, scripture was written to be read while engaging with God in the present – calling us to consider the present-day relevance of the timeless Word of God.

3. Bearing fruit

Basically this is a ‘Christianese’ phrase meaning ‘making something of your life’. It refers to being successful in having tangible results for your actions – results that are pleasing and noticeable to those around you. In Ephesians 5, this is listed as the first of many things that please God.

Be honest – is what you use your time doing bearing any visible fruit? Are people sitting up and taking notice of what you’re doing? Is what you doing giving sustenance (inspiring, releasing, enabling) to others?

4. Learning about God

This is an interesting one. So many of us have lived our whole lives with an understanding of God’s character. It seems to be an ingrained understanding – whether it’s believing God is this huge mighty being, a judgmental punisher, a wafting impression of love and all things fuzzy. But have you ever researched whether that is truly who Jesus actually is? The Bible is a great resource for learning who God is. Another place is asking people who you respect what their impression of God is. But it is important that you have firsthand experience – that is the irrefutable knowledge of God.

How do you learn about God personally? How do you connect with Him personally. Click on the link below to find out more.