Sunday, April 2nd
There’s no denying the impact that social media has had on life in the 21st Century. Although there are certainly positive aspects of social media, our love for these platforms is a strong indication of the struggle most of us experience with people-pleasing. We care a lot about what other people think, but God tells us that people-pleasing is a distraction from a life that serves Him. Are you more concerned about pleasing God or pleasing people?
Work through the following Scriptures and questions on your own, and get together with your running partner, Life Group, or friends and family to talk through what you are learning!
- If you met a social media friend in person for the first time and they followed you around for 24 hours, would they think that your real life is accurately reflected in your social media postings, or would they think you’re crafting a different image online?
- What’s a silly/foolish thing you’ve done because you desired the praise of people more than the praise of God? What did God teach you through that particular episode in your life?
- Read Isaiah 53:1-7. What are some of the ways that you’ve left God’s path to follow your own?
- Have you ever been afraid to share a Christian perspective on a social media post because you were afraid people would think negatively about you? If so, why do you think you held back? If not, how do you respectfully represent Christ in a medium that can often reflect hostility towards Him?
- Read John 12:24-28. What do you think is the hardest part of hating your life in this world in order to follow and serve God?
- What people-pleasing realizations do you have to die to daily in order to live to please God?
- These questions might have been emotionally and spiritual challenging, but take heart! Jesus suffered and died to redeem us and restore us into right relationship with Him, sweeping away all of our mistakes and regrets. This is the incredible news that He invites each of us as Christ followers to share with others! In the week ahead, what are some ways that you can respond to this incredible gift by sharing some element of your faith journey with the people in your life?
Isaiah 53:1-7 — Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
John 12:24-28 — Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.”
“Typically, the intense need to please and care for others is deeply rooted in either a fear of rejection and/or fear of failure.” — Dr. Sherry Pagoto
It’s true that although people-pleasing can often seem like it comes from a positive place (e.g., a desire to make others happy, etc.), it almost always indicates some unhealthy pattern within the people pleaser. God wants us to be healthy and happy, so we can love Him and love others well.
If you’re looking to dive deeper into the topic of people-pleasing, check out this great blog post:
The post explores more of the reasons we might have a tendency toward people-pleasing (Hint: BIG LOVE + BIG FEAR = BIG PLEASING), and it lists 12 ways we can begin to combat this dangerous habit. Some examples the post includes to help us free ourselves of people-pleasing include remembering you are valued and loved by God, setting boundaries and sticking to them, and living each day for God’s glory.
Spiritual Outcome — Self-Awareness