BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…. “For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people…” 1 Thessalonians 2:4 NLT
This week at my Tuesday devotional and prayer meeting with pastors and other elected leaders, it was shared by one pastor about not just having the right position, but also the right disposition.
I thought about the combinations of those dynamics. You can have the right position and the wrong disposition, you can hold to the wrong position and have the wrong disposition, you can have the wrong position and the right disposition, but the optimum is having both the right position and the right disposition.
Paul’s desire was to preach truth and do it in a way that pleased God and didn’t result in compromise in order to please others. He was not intentionally trying to be belligerent with the truth out of arrogance or pride. It is one thing if people are “offended” by the truth, it is another if the messenger is being offensive.
Paul reveals that motives are important. “…He alone examines the motives of our hearts.” (1 Thessalonians 2:4 NLT) If we are open to the Lord, He will allow us to know whether our motives are pure or not.
Paul realized that pleasing people was not the ultimate goal. That being insincere was being sincerely wrong. He states, “Never once did we try to win you with flattery, as you well know.” (1 Thessalonians 2:5, NLT) Speaking the truth is telling people what they need to hear, not what they want to hear.
Paul states something that was true in his day and well as in ours, “God is our witness that we were not pretending to be your friends just to get your money!” (1 Thessalonians 2:5 NLT) The key to sustainable ministry and a life of integrity is to realize that when we please God and speak the truth, our needs will be met. As the adage goes, “we are to love people and use money, not love money and use people.” Pretending to be “friends” to get money, is using people.
We can observe Paul understood for whom he was working and to whom he was accountable. “As for human praise, we have never sought it from you or anyone else.” (1 Thessalonians 2:6 NLT)
Paul’s desire was to have the “well done” commendation from the Lord over the “pat on the back” from people.
Finally, we see the “right disposition” in declaring the truth in a way that pleases the Lord. “And you know that we treated each of you as a father treats his own children. We pleaded with you, encouraged you, and urged you to live your lives in a way that God would consider worthy.” (1 Thessalonians 2:11,12 NLT)
Paul understood that he was called by God to speak the message God gave him. That allowed him to seek to please God as he demonstrated genuine love for people.