It’s an issue that most Christians have to deal with . . . “Am I more concerned about impressing people or God?” You might think this particularly true of teenagers because they are very image conscious, but truth is adults are just as concerned about their image as the younger people. Is my house impressive? Does the car I drive reflect my personality or status? Do my friends think I’m cool? Do I possess just the right air of confidence so that my boss will take notice?
I think this is one reason why I love the Apostle Paul so much. He really didn’t place a lot of stock in what others thought of him. His main goal was to please God with his life. And in particular, he loved to preach the good news of the gospel, regardless of what opposition he may incur. He declared to the believers in Rome, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).
Are you ashamed of the gospel? It seems that many Christians try pretty hard to separate themselves from the gospel by the way they act. “I hope they don’t find out I’m a Christian. They will make fun of me or treat me differently.” “They won’t think I’m cool if they find out I go to church.” “If I take a stand for what is right I might not get promotion I really want.” These are just a few of the ways we desire to camouflage our faith.
However, Paul continues in the next verse by saying, “the just shall live by faith” (v. 17). To please God we have to live according to our faith, not by our fears. The writer of the book of Hebrews states it clearly, “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). Living a life of faith is a choice. It doesn’t just happen. It requires us to choose to seek a growing relationship with the Father who provides the strength we need when we face the giants in our lives. Let’s make one thing clear . . . living a real Christian life isn’t for wimps! It requires a strength that comes only through a sincere and complete trust in the Lord.
So the real question is, “Do you want to be a people pleaser, or do you want to please the One who created and saved you?”