Do you struggle with focusing too much on what other people think about you and getting them to accept you? Does your desire to be liked and accepted sometimes cause you to not do or say what is right, so that they will continue to like you? If this is you, take heart, you are not alone! Many of us struggle with being a people pleaser. The ultimate problem with being a people pleaser is that God is no longer first in our lives. Paul wrote in Galatians 1:10 that “If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”  Seeking to please man over God becomes a very slippery slope, such that we can get to the point in our lives where our personal relationship with God is non-existent. The problem is we care primarily about our satisfaction, and it is easy to find immediate value from other people. This state of the heart is far from God, and is where the Jewish Pharisees, Sadducees, Priests, and Elders found themselves.

We can see this heart attitude clearly in Luke 20:1-6…

“The chief priests and the scribes with the elders came up and said to him, “Tell us by what authority you do these things, or who it is that gave you this authority.” He answered them, “I also will ask you a question. Now tell me, was the baptism of John from heaven or from man?” And they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From man,’ all the people will stone us to death, for they are convinced that John was a prophet.”

In Luke 20, Jesus is only days away from crucifixion. He is three years into His ministry on earth, and the hearts of the Jewish leaders are still hard toward God. However they did have great concern over man – “the people will stone us to death”. Their hearts were not receptive toward the things of God because they quite frankly did not care about God. They cared about the appearance of godliness because of the honor it brought them in man’s eyes. They allowed their lifetime temptation of allowing man’s thoughts, actions, and opinions to draw them further and further away from God, such that God Himself appeared in front of them, performing miracle after miracle, yet they sadly did not recognize their own creator.

Sadly, we can fall into the same trap as these Jewish leaders. This is Passion Week, and I encourage you to take extra time out of your busy schedule and spend it in God’s presence. Read over the accounts of Jesus’ final week, devotionally. Ask yourself questions as you read. What does this reveal about God? What is God trying to communicate to me? Draw closer in your relationship with God. Your best defense against outside influences that draw you away from Christ is to intentionally pursue Him!

Here is where you can find the Passion Week accounts in the four Gospels:

  • Matthew 21-28
  • Mark 11-16
  • Luke 19-24
  • John 12-21

As you draw closer to Him this week, I encourage you to join us Thursday evening at 6:30 for our Maundy Thursday service as well as Easter morning at 10:30. You can worship with us both in-person and online, but I encourage you to join us in-person if you are able. There is something special when we gather together as the Body of Christ to worship Him.
 Pastor Brian