Have you ever found yourself bending over backwards just to make people around you happy? We've all been there. Join us as we look at Jesus, who prioritized God's will above everything else.
Good morning church. You know, here's what I love a lot of places and a lot of times, people say things but they don't actually live them out. And what? One of the things that I love is that we say things and then actually live this out, and one of the things we say is that everyone belongs here at King of Kings, everyone belongs to the family of God, that we welcome everyone, no matter who they are or where they've been or what they're doing, and I just want you to know today is a living example for that. You're gonna see that you can see Packers, fans around here and you're welcome here. It's okay that you are the way you are and you're welcome here. We love you. Oh, you know, I was watching the the news about two months ago and I don't know if you saw this, but there was a heat in the women's 100 meter US Olympic trials and there was a woman who was running for the country of Somalia and and if you saw this, you can, you can search this out. I would invite you to search world's slowest run, somalia and and so so what happened is they took off and she didn't even know like she kind of lined up like this. Like she didn't have her hands down or anything like that. She kind of lined up that way. She didn't even know how to start off the blocks. And then they took off and the winner of that heat finished the hundred meter dash in eleven point, like eight seconds, just under twelve seconds. And then the Somalian woman. She was just running I'm not even sure I would say she was running her heart out, she was running and then she kind of got towards the end of the finish line and she just did a little skip across. She finished in just under 22 seconds, world's slowest hundred meter yard dash ever. So then of course, everyone started asking how did this woman make the qualifying heat from Somalia? Like she's not a runner? Matter of fact, the Somalian Olympic committee chairperson said her name was Ali, said Ali is not a runner, nor even a sports person. So they did an investigation. They found out that the person who chose the runner from Somalia was related to Ali and it was this form of nepotism to let her, her nephew or niece I'm sorry niece run in the US Olympics try, or the world Olympic trials. All this is is like we can sit here and go. How could this happen? Like there's no way. But let's be really honest with ourselves. Isn't this, at the end of the day, just a family member trying to give love to a family member, trying to please a niece that maybe asked the question that said we're not really gonna win anyways? Can we go? Don't you find yourself, if you were even in the same somewhat situation, maybe at least giving thought you might not do it? You know, I'd say, well, I'll tell you what, we'll go and we'll sit at the front row and we'll watch the event. But at least you might say, well, for a family member, I'll do a little more, don't? We all love to please people? And that's what this was was a family member pleasing, a family member honoring a request. I would actually say that most of us, all of us, are people pleasers at the core, like we like to be people pleasers. Nobody, right nobody, woke up today and said I just want to make people as mad as possible, right? I mean, raise your hand if you're going. I just like to make sure everyone's upset. Mike White, put your hand down, right? None of us do that. We want to please people. It's actually to our core. Every one of us is a people pleaser. At some times and for someone I want to please my wife matter of fact, there's times where it will be in an argument and to please her. All just give up. I'll say, yes, you're absolutely right, I don't believe it, but I want to please her, right with our children. I want to please my kids sometimes and and there will be things that they want to do that I go I don't like it, but I know make them happy and so I say yes, it's okay, we'll do it and I'm pleasing them. We want to please our co-workers, we want to please the people around us, we want to please our friends, and so sometimes we, even with our friends, won't say something or won't do something, or or we'll just find a way to kind of acquiesce to whatever they want. And actually, at the very core of it all and I believe the biggest epidemic we have the reality is we want to please ourselves, we want to, we want us to say yes, I believe, and please what ever I want to do. And this is that, this is that there, that word we hear all the time, those things, that phrase. We say you do you, it's fine, right. And that's where we get to, where we start pleasing people. But the truth of the matter is that pleasing people is displeasing to actually everybody, like when I acquiesce to my wife in an argument and I just say, fine, it's, it's okay, it's everything, once the argument moves on and then something else comes up and I live out my true feelings. She's like well, why'd you say that? Then right, so I've displeased the whole system, right? Or if I give my kids something and I just do something so that they're pleased and they're happy, then later on they're not who I want them to be. I've messed up the whole system. And I believe that in our humanity, in our nature of this pleasing, it actually also messes with our living out who God's called us to be. And I believe that this is why we can so easily start to say, even with our beliefs about what God says. We can actually then permeate that with pleasing people over pleasing God, and I will say I'm a people pleaser. But that's why, for me, when I think about my favorite verse, my favorite verse has been and will be Galatians 1-10, because it's a verse that keeps me grounded of what am I really trying to do? Why am I here on earth to do this, and I want you to read this verse together with me. Let's read the whole thing as we see it, for am I now seeking the approval of man or of God, or am I trying to please man? If I were trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Am I? Who am I trying to please? I always have to ask myself that question. Am I choosing to say God, I want to please you over and above all things, and that includes even with my wife. Right, like, our marriage is best. When I'm pleasing God first. As a parent, I am a much better parent. When I am pleasing my wife and God first, above them. As a coworker and a laborer, I am a better coworker and laborer. I'm a better neighbor, I'm a better friend when I'm seeking to please God first in all things and then loving other people, and that's why I love that verse. Now you might ask yourself well, wait a minute like, how can I always choose God first? First of all, let's understand we get the privilege and the honor and the ability to choose God because God chose you. God chose you first. God said that he loves you and he wants you to love him, and so we actually have the ability to stand up and to say Lord, I choose you because we've been chosen. And as chosen people, we then can say my primary goal is to live for God first and then live for others and to please you, oh God. And you know how much God chose you. This is where Galatians it comes true. In Galatians one, three and four it says grace and peace to you from God, our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins, to us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, that you have been chosen to be rescued, rescued from sin, death, the devil and the darkness of this world. And this is according to the will of God. He has chosen you. It is not by circumstances, it is not by proxy, it is not by anything else. He chose you according to the will of God. Do not ever let the negativity of Satan say that God doesn't love you or didn't choose you. The Word of God is clear that you've been chosen, amen, amen. And so, from our choosing as chosen people, we can then live in a priority for God first, and then we can live out that verse 1, verse 10, to seek the pleased God above all other human beings, and when we do that, we actually will please others as well and we'll be labeled to live out this natural desire that we have to please people. And I don't believe that pleasing people is sinful or inherently wrong. It's a mess when we miss the order, when we choose to please others instead of God. That's when it gets wonky, that's when it's messed up, that's when we're actually not pleasing anyone. But everyone's a mess right. And so let's get the order right. So I want to share with you how I get the order right, and, of course, I have to use an acronym right. So really, at the end of the day, here's what people pleasing is we want to win, like it's Jersey Sunday. Who doesn't want to win? Right, it's wide and where our line's Jersey, right, we want to win. So how do we win? Well, let's figure it out First W who. Who are we trying to please? And that who has to be God. And sometimes it can get so easy for us to miss the who and we don't even realize that we're missing the who. When I was in seventh grade, I remember the first day of school, seventh grade. I remember very vividly. It's the only first day I still remember and I remember because we were in Miss Calhoun's class and she was doing the roll call and there was a brand new student and the new student was named David and we were a smallish type school so we knew everyone had grown up with everyone and David was new to our group. And then I remember throughout the day, at some point in science class class ended and David got up and David ran out of the classroom and it must have been in David's anxiety, david's nervousness, david's fear, but David had had an accident and had to rush to the bathroom. And junior hires can be some of the most cruel people on the planet, to be honest. And I was no different. And David. From that day forward, david was not accepted in our school. David was teased and made fun of, david was put on the outside and while I didn't necessarily lead that charge, I definitely allowed it to go. I stood back and sought the approval of my friends and the approval of others and the kids that I knew that were being mean to David, bullying David, and my way of seeking their approval was to not speak up, to stand in the corner, to be in the crowd to silently watch and to, in my mind, justify it and say I'm not doing anything. And that's exactly the point I wasn't doing anything. It can be so easy for us to lose sight of the who and to say who is this person? A child of the living God? Who am I here? To serve the Father whose delight matters to me, my friends, my colleagues, my coworkers, my spouse, my children or my God? And to choose God before I choose others. And I missed it with David. As a matter of fact, deuteronomy 6.5 says to us this love the Lord, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Love the Lord, your God. Love Him above loving other people. Love Him in the ways that he is called. Jesus lived this out. When Jesus came, jesus loved the Father more than he loved anyone and anything else. Jesus prioritized living out the will of the Father for you and for me. Jesus made a priority of loving the Father and praying, going away separately and praying. Jesus stood up to the religious leaders and the teachers of the law and said you are not following the Father. It is okay for us to follow the Father. It is okay for us to worship God. Jesus was the one who showed to us what it is to live for the Father first, and not the rules and the regulations that were put in place, but to rather love all of creation. Jesus lived that out for us and as Jesus lived that out for us, jesus poured out his life to show to us what it is to choose the Father first, and that's why, in John 14, 16, I love this. It's a reminder that, as we wanna live this out for me, as I wanna live out to love God above man and not to be a servant of man before a servant of God, I have to follow Jesus, who said I am the way, the truth and the life. Whoever believes in me has everlasting life, and that's why putting God at the priority of who we're pleasing matters the most. So, knowing who we're trying to please and letting that flow out, how we behave, how we act, what we say, who we defend and how we live the who matters. We wanna win who. I Important. It is so important for us to put God first, to seek to please Him above everything and anything else. Matter of fact, I would say it is the character that God has put in you. We believe here that God has placed us to transform lives and that transformation happens by us living out the character of God, by being reliant, authentic, courageous and generous and living that out to everyone we go. And it's so important for us to do this in a world that is craving to see people who please God and then can please others. And if we had just stood up, if I had just stood up and seen that importance of living out my character? Because David was relentlessly bullied from friends that would mock Him and tease Him, would walk by Him in a hallway and make sure their shoulder hit Him as hard as possible. To the girls that would say to Him will you go to the dance with me? To then giggle and smirk as he was excited and for them an hour later to say I was just kidding, I would never go with you. To the kids that would pick Him to be on a team at recess and then never let Him play. You see, bullying is not cool, but silence and washing it is being just as complicit. Standing up for the weak, the widowed and the oppressed is what real courage and coolness looks like. And when Jesus says in Mark 12, 31, love your neighbor as yourself. There is no greater commandment than these. The reality is is when we love God first, we can actually truly love our neighbor. If I had placed a priority to love God as a junior higher, first in all things, I would have loved David in a way different way. I would have followed Jesus, who loved people and loved his neighbor, who looked at the leopards and would touch them, who healed the blind man, who found the importance of saying it's not what the world or even my family should think, and that when they came to Him and criticized Him and said don't you know your mom and your brothers are looking for you, what are you doing here? He said don't you know? I have to be in my father's house Choosing what's important, and you know, it can be so easy for us to think well, it's just a season. I don't have to do this right now. Right, as a parent. Our kids have school and have homework and have sports and all these things. It's just a season. It's in the season that I'm going to choose the travel things instead of church right now. My kids will get it later. We're pleasing our kids over pleasing God, or even just looking at ourselves and saying it's just my season, I'm so busy right now, it's everything is happening, I just need a break, I just need a rest, and so I'll just. I worship God on my own in my own place. No, we're choosing ourselves rather than God. Or we look at the will of God and we say, well, god's got to understand this. And I think one area that we oftentimes will please ourselves or please others is is we'll say, well, I, I just right now, I can't really tie, I can't really give, or I'm giving what I really can, but it's not really a biblical tie. But God will understand that. And again, we're missing the priority and we're actually missing out on what could be. Knowing the importance of loving God first then allows us to actually love our neighbors completely and better than we ever could. You want to love your children even greater. Show them what it is to pick a priority that is named Jesus and watch the fruits of that happen when you're a grandparent and you're sitting with your grandchildren in church together. You want to know what it is to have full freedom and not worry about finances. Choose to let God be the ruler of your bank account. You want to know what it is. Test him in that you want to know what it is to find your own freedom from anxiety or worry. Love God first and watch how much love you find for yourself, that your own worst critic will look at you and in that voice in the head that says you find shame and guilt will be replaced with the voice in the head that says my will was that I chose you and I'm pleased with you. So how can you not be pleased with yourself? That's the beauty of knowing what's important and when it's important. So we win when we know who and we know the importance of that who. And then, lastly, the end, now. So when do we seek to please God? Now, and see as you ask yourself this question right, well, when do I have to? When do I put God first? Now, now, and that's when we always do that. Because when we, when we look at the now, we then would realize that maybe we won't have the regrets of later. It was my sophomore year and it was a summertime and our phone rang at home. My parents were at work and I was home by myself and my friend called and said Griff, what are you doing? And I said I'm just sitting here at home and he said well, he said I wanted to let you know that David's dead. And I said what? I said, yeah, he was at a at a party at our school and said he jumped into the lake and he died. He drowned. And I said what do you mean? David couldn't swim. And he said, yeah, they don't know if he was pushed or if he jumped. And later that week I was at the funeral and I couldn't help but sit there and think what if I had stood up for what if I had just changed, because here's a young man and a family that are wrecked, what if I had been the character that I knew God had put in me? And to this day and to the day I take my last breath, that's a regret that I didn't seek to please God before. I was pleasing my friends by just allowing them to be bullies. What happens when we follow Jesus, when we see Jesus, who chose now? Now to say to the woman at the well, I've come for you, right, as he answered, everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again. So if you drink the water of pleasing others before God, you're going to be thirsty again. You're never going to be full. You'll never be satisfied. There will always be more. You see, pleasing outside of the order of God will leave you yearning for more and more and more. You'll never have it. You'll never have the satisfaction that you're looking for. And so he says you'll thirst again. But whoever drinks the water that I give them will never thirst again. The water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life. The woman says, sir, give me this water so I don't get thirsty and have to keep coming to draw this water. Jesus shows what it is to share the gospel now, to live a life pleasing for God. Now Jesus walks to the garden and says it is now that I am here to complete this, it is now that I will give my life for those whom I have chosen, you, that I will please the Father by allowing all of humanity who believes in me to have eternity with his children, you and I. Jesus fought with the weapons not of the world, like Peter wanted, but instead he fought the weapons with the Word and with his arms wide open. And on that cross he is wide open to say that everyone is invited to eternal life. That is why we get to please God because God is pleased with us. Christ poured out his life knowing who it was for. He poured out his life knowing how important it was for him to live that life for you and for me. And he poured out his life now for us to have eternal life. And see, when I please others, I never satisfy, and neither are they, and there is always more to do, more to give, and there is even the regret of what I could have done. But when I live in the reality that I get to please God first because he is pleased with me, that his arms are wide open and that he is forgiven me, and so now I make him my priority because I know his love for me, I then can please others and I can be reminded too that I don't need to do anything more to please God and there is nothing else left to give, to be satisfied. It's done, it's finished. Christ has poured it all out for us. And so today I want to invite you next time you are thinking about pleasing someone else, ask what's the win, who important and now? And please God first, and then you'll please them beyond what you can ever even imagine, because you will love God and love your neighbors yourself, and you will be a servant of Christ always. And I want to invite you this week what's your favorite verse, what's the verse that grounds you, that moves you and, as this week you find that, share that, because that verse will be an impact, just like it's been for all three weeks here. We've seen different verses impacting us, so this week we'll have opportunities for you to scan that QR code, share that verse and show that verse to everyone and let them see the word of God active and living, sharper than any double-edged sword at work within you. As I and you please God first and then please each other and all God's people said amen, amen. Okay, let's take a moment.