Useful Bible Studies > Romans Commentary > chapter 15

Should Christians try to please other people?

Romans 15:2

We all naturally desire what is good for ourselves. However, if we care only to please ourselves, that is a selfish and evil attitude (15:1).

Clearly therefore, our desire should be to please God (2 Corinthians 5:9). However, we must be careful to do that only in the way that God approves of. For example, we must not try to force God to support us by our gifts (1 Samuel 15:22; Micah 6:6-8).

God has commanded us to show love to other people (Luke 10:25-37; Romans 13:9-10). Therefore, there is a right way to please other people. It is when we unselfishly serve them, on Godís behalf (1 Corinthians 10:33 and 9:19-23). So, we can bring what God declares to be truly good into their lives. The result is to give them the opportunity to trust God for themselves. When we do that, God uses us to carry out his work in their lives.

However, we should also remember that there are wrong ways to please other people (Galatians 1:10). For example, sometimes we try to impress people because we want to be popular. Sometimes we want people to approve of us so that we can benefit in some wrong way. When we do such things, we are acting selfishly. We may say that we are helping other people - but really, we care much more about ourselves. We are simply using those other people for our own advantage.

Sometimes we choose to please other people when we should desire only to please God. Perhaps we respect those people too much, or perhaps we are afraid of them. We must never give to anyone else the honour that God alone deserves.

Next part: Jesus did not try to please himself (Romans 15:3)


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