Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts. Never once did we try to win you with flattery, as you well know. And God is our witness that we were not pretending to be your friends just to get your money! As for human praise, we have never sought it from you or anyone else.
1 Thessalonians 2:4b-6 NLT
The primary purpose for any disciple is to please God. In our media-soaked world, where reality shows take ordinary people and fast track them to fame and fortune, many want to both be noticed and affirmed. Celebrity status is a goal for it appears to offer access to a materialistic lifestyle. I note that Jesus is described as becoming poor so that others might become rich (see 2 Corinthians 8:9). This is the primary purpose of servanthood; to meet the needs of others.
I served as an evangelist and as a church leader for more than 25 years. The lure of the platform captured me. I love the performance art of preaching. Sadly, I assumed the applause was for me. My leadership was sincere but also self-indulgent. I turned church ministry into an idol at whose feet I worshipped in the name of God.
It took a while to “detox” from that style of Christian living and leadership. I realised, instead of seeking to please myself, my inner drives and psychological demands, I was to please God. This first meant appreciating what God requested of me. There is no generic discipleship profile. Similarities, most certainly, and key principles. Yet, we are each different so the application is as unique as our own God-inspired image. And I can only please God as I set aside self-image for the God image birthed from my conception.
Pleasing God is your primary purpose. It is not to please others. Nor is it to please yourself. Seeking flattery or finance from ministry is in fact counter-cultural to the kingdom. Pleasing God demands close attention to the detailed motives that drive my thoughts and actions.
Flattery, pretence, seeking attention – is God challenging you about this?
You see my hidden motives and desires. I want to please and honour you today. Help and remind me of this goal.