Comment of the Day from 1/15/11
V2 “Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.”
If I could put a title on this chapter, I would call it “People Pleasers.” The idea of being a people pleaser is generally a negative one, to the point that when you talk of “people pleasing” you’re labeled as something of a kowtow-er (I use this term because there are not many genteel labels for this…) and/or doormat. There is a popular rejection of the attitude and lifestyle, yet here Paul gives us true perspective in this area.
People pleasers as the world knows them generally act the way they do for selfish or self-centered reasons; usually they are trying to make themselves feel better about themselves or look better to others (stemming from insecurities/low self-worth, from too much attention paid to how “self” appears to others, having a need for constant validation from others, etc.) Don’t get me wrong, the terms “selfish” and “self-centered” can come off as harsh but I’m not trying to villainize these sorts of people, just point out the truth of what’s going on underneath (likely even unbeknownst to a good number of people in this category.) I personally have struggled with this so if there are any fingers to point, let them fall first on me. However, people pleasing as Paul writes here comes from a completely different motive. It comes from love, leading to true servanthood; you can’t truly serve others if your actions are ultimately just to serve yourself.
V3 “For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.”
Matt 20:26-28 “26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: 28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
Jesus gives us the ultimate example of servanthood. He came to this earth, robed in flesh, so that He could minister to humanity, lead them to a better way in Him (the then soon-coming New Covenant), and even suffer the death on the cross and later make available the gift of His Spirit, all for love’s sake. It was entirely selfless.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
John 15:1-14 “10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”
In being a true servant or a true people pleaser, we serve out of love in working love towards one another, thus fulfilling Jesus’ commandment and the law (Rom 13:8-10.) We don’t need to shun the whole idea of people pleasing, we just need to make sure our motive is pure and our actions are pleasing first and foremost to God.
Day 16 Prayer Focus
Pray for a fresh sanctification in your own life and in the Christian community. Like David, cry out for a clean heart and a right spirit (Psalm 51:10). Renew your commitment to separation from the world and fellowship with God.
1I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea:
2That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.
3Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus:
4Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.
5Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my well-beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ.
6Greet Mary, who bestowed much labour on us.
7Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.
8Greet Amplias my beloved in the Lord.
9Salute Urbane, our helper in Christ, and Stachys my beloved.
10Salute Apelles approved in Christ. Salute them which are of Aristobulus’ household.
11Salute Herodion my kinsman. Greet them that be of the household of Narcissus, which are in the Lord.
12Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labour in the Lord. Salute the beloved Persis, which laboured much in the Lord.
13Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.
14Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren which are with them.
15Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them.
16Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.
17Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
18For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
19For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.
20And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
21Timotheus my workfellow, and Lucius, and Jason, and Sosipater, my kinsmen, salute you.
22I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord.
23Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you. Erastus the chamberlain of the city saluteth you, and Quartus a brother.
24The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
25Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
26But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:
27To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.