You know how there’s that cliche where it goes like this: “Never allow someone to be your priority when you are only an option”
I realize that for a short quote, it’s quite insightful. Although it is in the context of dating/relationships, there is a core issue involved. Why do we seek to please people? Especially in the area of love/relationships, why do we value that ONE PARTICULAR PERSON’S OPINION so highly to the point that irrationality occurs?
It’s easy to see why: Idolatry is the core reason behind people-pleasing. We worship the opinions of mere human beings when we shouldn’t.
A dear friend shared with me about struggling with being a people-pleaser and how it is truly affecting their life. Later on, another dear friend helped me see how I struggle in that area as well.
Enslavement and chains. That is what people-pleasing feels like. But I am so thankful that Jesus died so that these fleshly links are broken!
“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”
(Galatians 5:1 ESV)
Though the context is referring to being slave to the law and customs, we can see that this principle of freedom can be applied in our struggle with entanglements.
So, if we are not to be slaves of sin, what are we to do? By the virtue of the fact that we are HUMAN, we are SLAVES [and will always be a slave, simply because that’s how we’ve been made]. So… what are we slaves to?
Some verses come into mind.
“But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.”
(Romans 6:22 ESV)
What a wonderful news! Our other option would have been being slaves to sin and having the fruit that leads to degeneration and its end, death. This is something that cost the life of our King. [“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” (Romans 5:6 ESV)]
“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” “
(Galatians 5:13-14 ESV)
But wait? I thought I was talking about being slave? What’s this notion of being “free”? Well, this is a freedom in the sense that we are NO LONGER slaves to sin, but slaves to RIGHTEOUSNESS. Yes, there is a REAL battle that wages in our hearts against the residual indwelling sin of our flesh. The Lord does command us to actively, lovingly SUBJECT ourselves to others and serve others in love!
We do not want to let our freedom in Christ to be abused and be made as an opportunity for the flesh to make its base of operations in our hearts, but instead, we must serve other believers in love!
Something that my discipler has echoed to me is to be ACTIVELY thinking of ways to serve others. We gotta be doing this all in love. And the more we obey & serve others in love, instead of sin having its base of operations in us, it will be righteousness that will have its base of operations in us. [and this all comes from an external, supernatural source (ref 1 Peter 4:11)].
How do we serve one another in love? Where do we serve?
Think about how to serve your church. Think about how to encourage your brothers and sisters to love & good works (ref Hebrews 10:24). Think of any needs that the church has, and seek to fill it! Whatever you do, be valuing and loving what Jesus loves! [and to know that, you gotta be diving in Scriptures]
As for idolizing/people-pleasing/prioritizing people above all, remember that
God promises freedom for us who struggle in this.
That freedom is found in devotion to Christ.
The more we are concerned with the matters of our Master, our God, the more we are compelled to genuinely serve others in Christ-like love.
The more we serve others in LOVE, the less we think about ourselves & how others think of us.
As we are obediently GOING in service to others, and DOING what pleases God, there is an assurance in knowing that it is pleasing to God, by the grace of His Spirit, and the idolatry of people-pleasing becomes smaller.
Since Christ has set us free from the yoke of sin-slavery,
Replace people-pleasing with God-pleasing by obediently and lovingly do what pleases God.
All this is possible because of His love! This isn’t some sad, cold-hearted dreary duty to please the Lord when it is our JOY to LOVE the One who LOVED us first! [ref 1 John 4:19]
When there is so much love that’s poured in to us, how can we possibly just keep it in for ourselves?
We love & serve others, because God first loved us!
and as for my response to the quote: When your priority is aligned with God, you won’t care to be someone’s “option.”
Because you love and care for something greater.
I’m going to fight hard to love and care for what’s greater.