You can't please everybody. Just about the time you get one group of people pleased, another group gets mad at you. Even God doesn't please everyone.
Jesus lived with a singular purpose: to please the Father. He said in John 5:30 (CEV), "I cannot do anything on my own. The Father sent me, and he is the one who told me how to judge. I judge with fairness, because I obey him, and I don't just try to please myself."
When you don't know whom you're trying to please, you cave in to criticism because you're wondering what everybody else is going to think about you.
You also cave in to competition because you're worried whether somebody else is getting ahead of you.
And you cave in to conflict because somebody disagrees with you, and you don't know whom you're trying to please. You give in to keep them happy with you.
A long time ago, I decided that in my life, I want to please one person: Jesus Christ. If I focus in on just pleasing God, my life will be simplified. Pleasing God will always be the right thing to do. Regardless of what anybody else thinks, it's the right thing.
We love to blame our stress on other people. "You make me ... I have to ... I must ... I've got to ..." Who says?
What you're actually saying is, "I choose to because I don't want to pay the consequences." That's a different matter. Nobody makes you do anything. It's a matter of whether or not you want the positive or negative consequence.
Jesus knew who he was, and he knows who every person on the planet is. And if you'll decide today to please God alone, life will be far simpler.
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of pastors.com, a global internet community for pastors.
This article originally appeared at pastors.com.
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