Summary: You can’t please everyone, but you can please God.

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The Apostle Paul wrote the Letter to the Galatians to expose the error of a group known as the Judaizers. The Judaizers were Jewish Christians who taught that Gentile converts must be circumcised and keep the OT law in order to be saved. They argued that Paul was not an authentic apostle and that out of a desire to make the message more appealing to Gentiles, he had removed from the gospel certain requirements. In other words, they accused Paul of being a people pleaser.

Paul (Galatians 1:6-12)

Obviously, I’m not trying to be a people pleaser! No, I’m trying to please God. If I were still trying to please people, I would not be Christ’s servant (Galatians 1:10 NLT).

Peter (Galatians 2:11-16)

When [Peter] first arrived, he ate with the Gentile Christians, who were not circumcised. But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision (Galatians 2:12 NLT).

• Becoming obsessed with what pleases PEOPLE is the quickest way to forget what pleases GOD.

• I can’t please EVERYONE but I can please GOD.

Characteristics of people pleasers:

• They say, “I must be liked by everyone.”

• They say, “I must do nothing to upset others.”

• They take most criticism personally.

• They have an extraordinary fear of rejection.

• They find it hard to express their true feelings.

• They have a hard time saying, “No.”

We shouldn’t forget that pleasing God often means pleasing people. “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4). “I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved” (1 Corinthians 10:33; cf. 9:22).


1. People pleasing is a form of IDOLATRY.

“I care more about what you think than what God thinks.”

Many even among the leaders believed in [Jesus]. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved praise from men more than praise from God (John 12:42-43).

Three people pleasing traps:

• “I will COMPROMISE for you” trap

• “I will OVERCOMMIT for you” trap

• “I will let you limit my SUCCESS” trap

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe (Proverbs 29:25).

[Prop: a snare]

2. The fear of GOD is the best antidote for the fear of PEOPLE.

We speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.... We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else (1 Thessalonians 2:4, 6).

Are you living for the applause of people or the approval of God?


Gerald F. Hawthorne, Ralph P. Martin, Daniel G. Reid, Dictionary of Paul and His Letters

James Montgomery Boice, Galatians (EBC)

Craig Groeschel, “You Can’t Please Everyone” (used by permission)

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