“But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the Gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.” 1 Thessalonians 2:4
Who am I really trying to please, God or man? This is one of the most constant questions going through my mind on any given day.
The answer to this one question will lead either to confidence and peace or to anxiety and frustration.
Paul, who penned the above verse, knows this better than any man. He was shipwrecked, stoned, beaten, and often without food (2 Cor. 11:25–27). In the midst of trying times, what gave Paul peace and filled him with confidence was the object of his motivation: Jesus and the spread of his gospel.
When the object of our motivation isn’t Jesus, not only do we find ourselves off mission, but the side effects are tiring and frustrating at best.
As Paul alludes, God already knows the motives of our heart. He sees right through us. How wonderful and comforting to know that God sees the humanity of his children’s hearts and loves us anyway! When we experience this kind of grace, it should no longer be man who we are trying to please, but God who has already found pleasure in us because of his son Jesus.