It can be tempting to run ahead of God and think I know best- like I have it all figured out! Even now as I type these words it is so apparent that I don’t know it all, but when I shift my focus off of God in the slightest and onto what I or others want- that is exactly what my actions are saying.

In the past, I have struggled with the awful sin of people pleasing. The Lord had shown me how I lowered my gaze from heaven’s throne and onto those around me. It’s as if I attached myself to puppet strings and then handed them over to family, friends, or my very own frail hands for guidance. As I was pulled in one direction it was easy to sway to the tune of someone else’s music for a while, until I was pulled in too many different directions. It was then that I found myself entangled in the sin of people pleasing.

It’s not fun for anyone involved, and it damages each relationship, but most importantly, the neglected relationship between my heavenly Father and me. Thankfully the Lord’s living Word gives understanding on living for Jesus or for others.

The apostle Paul speaks about living for God and not compromising because of what others may think. Paul says, “Obviously, 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” Galatians 1:10.

Paul continues to explain, “But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong. When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile Christians, who were not circumcised. But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people” Galatians 2:13.

We can see at that moment in time, Peter’s focus shifted from God up above to his friends down below. Peter was more concerned about what people would think rather than what was pleasing to God.

Friends, rest assured that when your focus is upward and on the Father up above, your plans are made strong. Prayer to the Father and meditation on His living Word gives wisdom and direction. Philippians 2:13 promises, “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him”. I pray that your gaze is fixed upward, where true help comes from!

I lift up my eyes to the hills— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Maker of heaven and earth.

Psalm 121:1-2