What God Can’t Do
We often find ourselves marveling at the wonders of God but do you ever think about what He can’t do? A Sunday school teacher asked her students after a series of lessons on God’s omnipotence, ”Is there anything God can’t do?” The students looked at one another but no one spoke. The teacher, disappointed that the lesson’s point had been missed, asked again, ”Just name anything that God can’t do.” Finally, one boy raised his hand and replied, ”He can’t please everybody.” (Houston, 1989)
Have you ever given thought that God can’t please everyone? While you are praying for the sun to shine, someone else is praying for rain. It is an impossible task to please everyone yet most of us attempt to do it daily. Is it the threat of rejection, isolation, or both that we fear? We are purposed to serve God yet a lot of our life struggles comes from our attempts to please others. Jesus tells us to not be afraid of those who disagree or criticizes us that instead, we are to speak out and stand up for our faith. (Matthew 10:26 ”“ 27) Most of us are too afraid of offending others or the bottom line of rejection to proclaim the message of the Good News and live our life for God.
Please Don’t Reject Me!
Christ tells us to stop being afraid. People can only hurt us temporarily because only God gives life. It is God who we should fear and not people. We worry way too much about what other people say or think of us and often far too little about what God thinks of us. For, in the end, it is only the approval of God that will matter.
If you have ever tried to please everyone then you know what this delicate balance of the impossible is like. And you also know the stress that comes along with it. Many times, I have found myself in the difficult position of being saddled between opposing forces and the attempt to get everyone to agree and be happy. It is a most nerve-wracking stressful experience and one in which I always lose because everyone will not be happy in the end. I have come to learn that if I can make most of the people satisfied then I have met success. However, Paul tells us not only the better way to seek approval but the only way.
The Only Way
Paul reminds us that we are not here to gain the approval of people but God’s and we can’t do both. When we make our aim to only please God, we learn that even the smallest effort is pleasing to Him. Isn’t that relieving? God is pleased with even the smallest of our efforts to focus on Him. If you are like me, I am sure you have experienced putting forth a lot of effort to please people only to reap mediocre results if you’re lucky. People are not impressed with our smallest of efforts. They are only pleased when things are going the way they want them to go and have no desire to give the ”A” for effort.
We need to take our cue from Paul and follow his teaching by placing our entire focus on living our life for God. We should not be concerned about what the people around us think if our motivation comes from living for God’s approval. As Paul says, we can’t do both.
Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal. I would not be Christ’s servant. Galatians 1:10(NLT)
Be a Shark
It takes courage to seek only God’s approval in ourÂ world. So, if you want to live a life that focuses on pleasing God before people then begin with prayer. Let God be aware that you need the courage to move beyond people and go to Him first. The next step is to be upfront and honest with people in both actions and words that you seek only to gain God’s approval.
I heard it said once that you can be a jellyfish or a shark. Jellyfish live a life of just floating along being pushed and shoved by what everything else around them is doing. But a shark knows their purpose and goes after what they want without regard to their surroundings. In your purpose filled life for God, you must be a shark. Seek out His will above all else not worrying about if the other fish around you are applauding your efforts. Seek only to please the Father.
Be challenged today to be a shark for God by living a life pleasing only to Him. Allow your conviction to firmly stand knowing that God examines the motives of your heart. Find your motivation in the understanding that every effort you take to please God is indeed pleasing to Him. And lastly, surround yourself in the comfort of knowing that your sole purpose is only to please Him who made and loves you. Let this knowledge take the impossible task of trying to please everyone off your shoulders. Why even attempt to do what God can’t?
Love in Christ,
Don’t worry about other people’s opinions of you. God never told you to impress people; only to love them.
Credit Houston, G. W. (1989). More Than Conquerors. Lima: CSS Publishing
What are your thoughts? Join the Discussion!
Have you found yourself seeking the approval of others? Do you strive to please the people around you or yourself? Join us in the often-difficult struggle of seeking to please God before people.