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Pleasing God or Pleasing People?

by Wendy Boardman

Non-Christian worldviews, such as secular humanism and postmodernism, have seduced and diseased our culture.  Stemming from pride and rebellion against God—raising a fist at Almighty God, proclaiming “I will be the god of my life,” these worldviews reject God as absolute moral authority, asserting that man is his own moral authority and each individual will determine their own moral truth.

Not only have these philosophies saturated the secular community, they have leaked into and infected the church, creating a spiritual crisis. Through the Apostle Paul, God cautioned us about being taken in by secular philosophies:

8Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit,
according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of
the world, and not according to Christ. (Colossians 2:8)
The gradual seeping of secularism into the church is evidenced by an undeniable shift from a God-centered to a man-centered focus—to pleasing man rather than pleasing Almighty God.

For example, there is more emphasis on enlarging congregation size than on developing a personal relationship with the living God, more emphasis on entertainment than reverence toward a holy God, more focus on marketing strategies than on God’s majesty, more interest in sports than in-depth Bible study, more focus on fundraising than on building faith, more interest in erecting earthly empires than laying up heavenly treasures, more devotion to disregarding, rather than confronting sin, more importance placed on programs than repentance, more focus on technology than Truth, and more interest in pursuing pleasure than righteousness.  As opposed to being salt and light, the church is becoming more like cotton candy and lava lamps—a mirror reflection of our egocentric culture—rather than a reflection of Jesus Christ.

Mistakenly, worship has come to mean getting fired up, feeling good, having fun, being entertained, having a good time, or being emotionally stirred.  However, the Biblical meaning of “worship” is humbly prostrating oneself—bowing down—in reverence, homage, awe before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  Often, in error, that to which we refer as worship is nothing more than man-centered idolatry of pleasure and entertainment.

In essence, we are turning away from the God of the Bible in favor of other gods—the god of growth, the god of entertainment, the god of personal pleasure.  The god of the church is becoming me-ism rather than the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The church is packing people in the pews, but is becoming impotent in impacting lives through leading people to a genuine personal relationship with the Living God.

People are putting on the best spiritual facade they can muster, coming to church on Sunday morning and participating in a service for a brief period of time, only to return to the life of confusion and defeat they are living. There are people in bondage to pride and self-sufficiency—having made themselves their god.  There are people in bondage to anger and bitterness over hurt they have experienced in their lives. There are people in bondage to materialism and envy.  There are people in bondage to substance abuse and sexual sin.  The world’s empty philosophies—lies—have infiltrated the church, deceiving people to the point that they are unable to identify truth.

As a result, the church is filled with people who are confused, empty, misguided, miserable, defeated, and in bondage to sin.  People are searching for and in profound need of miraculous and dramatic transformation in their lives that only Almighty God, through His matchless love, His marvelous grace, and His mighty power, can accomplish—not the world’s philosophies, not personal relationships, not material possessions, not entertainment, not anything else….

We must arrest the current worldview shift by turning away from our rebellion against God and returning to Him as Almighty God, the author of objective truth and the absolute moral authority, the author of our salvation.  Otherwise, we will reap additional consequences of our rebellion, including further moral and spiritual decay and eventual destruction.

Standing firm on the Word of God—truth—has never been popular.  To the contrary, throughout the history of Christianity, those who have proclaimed God’s truth have been vilified.  As you courageously stand on the truth of the Bible, anticipate that you will encounter opposition, but know that pleasing Almighty God is far more blessed than pleasing people.

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