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Tag: people

The Idolatry of People-Pleasing

What if I'm more afraid to displease important people than God?

Written by GodLife on 13/09/2016
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Idolatry, Influence, Relationships, Submission
So now run away to your place. I said I would give you much honor, but the Lord has kept you from honor.

Numbers 24:11
A story in the Bible's book of Numbers shows how dangerous the desire to “please men” can be (Colossians 3:22). This story is mentioned a lot in the Bible. Each mention comes with a warning.

God wants us to take note: what can this story teach us about ourselves?

1. It is Dangerous To Look For God’s Permission And Not His Approval
Fearing Israel, King Balak sent for the prophet Balaam. God told Balaam not to go. King Balak persisted, so Balaam asked God again.

God seemed persuaded: he gave Balaam permission to go. On his journey, the donkey he was riding was blocked by an angel with a drawn sword. The donkey refused to keep going, angering Balaam so much that he beat the animal. Before he could kill her, God allowed the donkey to speak, warning him of the danger. God then opened Balaam’s eyes to see the angel standing ready to kill him!

Just as the donkey’s actions went against Balaam’s plan for her, Balaam himself had nearly been killed for resisting God. But Balaam presses again, and finds the permission, (not the approval), of God.

2. There is Danger in Getting Around God’s Purposes
Accompanying the messengers back to Midian, Balaam at first blesses Israel instead of cursing them. God had warned him to do only as he was told. (Numbers 22:20) Balak is furious. Later we’re told (Numbers 31:16) that Balaam taught the Midianite women to seduce the Israelite men into idolatry. (Numbers 25:1-3) Terrified by Balak, Balaam cunningly thought of a way to curse the Israelites without speaking the curse himself, still a violation of God's instructions.

3. The Outcome of the Fear of Man
Balaam’s conduct shows perversion in a believer's walk:

The “way of Balaam” (2 Peter 2:15) — “against” God. (Numbers 22:32) If it was to his advantage, Balaam didn’t fear taking God's mercy for granted. In his heart, he said, “God has said ‘no’ to this–maybe there's a way I can do it anyway.”
The “error of Balaam” (Jude 11) — failing to learn the lesson of the encounter. Balaam was physically stopped and even threatened.
The “doctrine of Balaam” (Revelation 2:14) — passing this attitude along. Balaam was willing to try to spoil the purpose of God.

Presumption leads to the error of trying to get around God’s will. This means we manipulate, teach or become a bad example, leading others down the same corrupt path. Balaam may have said the Lord was his God. But he had idolatry in his life all along: respect of human favor over God’s. How much will God allow if we presume upon His grace? Balaam’s idolatry led him to serve God’s enemies, curse himself (Numbers 23:9) and demonstrate God’s denial of his prayers (Numbers 23:10) in the manner of his death. (Numbers 31:8)

Pray this week:
Father, I surrender myself to you again. I want your way to prevail in my life. Protect me from presumptuous sin.

How can you know God’s good, pleasing and perfect will for your life?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Powerful Gospel

Have you ever not trusted in the power of the gospel to bring people to Christ?

Written by Malcolm Riley


Does the gospel have the power to save anyone?

Have you ever been tempted not to trust in the power of the gospel to bring people to Christ? Sometimes, we as Christians apologize for the message of Christ when talking to those who don’t believe. Romans 1:16 should be a life verse for every Christian! Paul says at the beginning of his letter to the Roman Christians, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of others.” The same gospel that has been saving people for thousands of years is still saving people today. This gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, can change any hard heart—if we will tell it! Our job is to pray and tell people about Christ. For as Paul went on to say, “How will they know if someone doesn’t tell them?”

The Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth

We need to tell people about the whole gospel and not leave out the difficult bits like sin, judgment, and Hell, and only talk about the amazing forgiveness that Christ offers at the cross. This means we will really have to trust the Holy Spirit when we tell people of the gospel. Jesus said, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to Me.” The power is not in our “sales pitch” of the gospel; the power is in telling the truth about Jesus.

Bring Them to Jesus

We also want to be the kind of people who, like Billy Graham, “Call people to decision!” A great prayer is that we might be like a crossroad in the lives of those we meet: that meeting us would draw someone in one of two directions—either towards Jesus Christ or further away from Him. We don’t want our lives to leave people ignorant about the gospel or comfortable with being neutral. The great preacher Charles H. Spurgeon said we should preach “the whole gospel with a call to decision.”

Push Past the Awkwardness

Every time I come to a point when I am going to challenge someone to pray to receive Jesus Christ, it never feels right. It always feels awkward. But so many have come to Christ when I have felt like this and chosen to go past the pain barrier and preach the gospel with a call to decision. We’ve got to challenge people in spite of being nervous or feeling awkward. It’s so important to not just tell people the gospel but to also challenge them to receive the greatest news in the world! Ask them, “Do you believe that Jesus is the Messiah? Do you wish to follow Him?” If their answer is yes, lead them in confessing their faith in Christ and assure them of their salvation. Ask the Holy Spirit today to make Romans 1:16 your life verse: “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation others.”

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member