The Biblio-Files

bib·li·o·phile (bĭb'lē-ə-fīl') n.

1. A lover of books.
2. A collector of books.


The God Pleaser

It has been interesting talking to people about what I learned from Priolo's book. More people seem to struggle with this than I thought. However, there are those of us who have such a deep-rooted addiction to fear of man, worrying about the rejection of friends, how we appear, what others think, pleasing people that our perspectives are sorely out of whack. This book is for us. I think that, for the most part, this sin starts out quite innocently (James 1:14-15). Approval addicts start off with love for God that leads to love for man. So, they love people. They love the Great Commission. They love their family and friends. They love their co-workers and the lost. However, if they get headed down the dangerous slippery slope of pleasing people inordinately (beyond or against the commands of Scripture) this is where danger begins. This is a danger to avoid for pastors, moms, dads, friends, siblings, employees, PEOPLE!!

Part 2 of Priolo's timely book provides Bible-saturated hope, strategies, put off-put on principles, etc. Furthermore, he contrasts the God pleaser and how he thinks, lives, reacts to the life of the man pleaser.

He begins the last half with a beautiful Gospel presenetation. Apart from being a Christian, you can NOT please God. I recommend that chapter to any and all who keep trying to be good and please God in their own strength. From there, Priolo walks the readers through a change of mind that must occur. Your desire, the aim of your life, must be to please God (including the God-given commands to please people) and glorify Him.

Priolo gives tons of advice for people pleasers. This includes studying Scriptures carefully to understand exactly what it takes to please God.

Unlike the people-pleaser, who spends his time studying the interests, aversions, words, inflections, and body language of people, this man invests his time studying those things that please God. This means that he spends plenty of time in the Word and plenty of time getting the Word into his heart.

Sanctifying this inner man, who no one but the Lord sees, is the ambition of the God-fearing Christian.

He provides several lists of thoughts or motives the People-Pleaser has compared to the thoughts of a God-Pleaser in various situations.
I'll give a few examples.
People Pleaser - "Will I embarass myself?"/God Pleaser - "Will I sin against God?"
People Pleaser - "Am I as _____ as she?"/God Pleaser - "Am I as godly as Christ?"
People Pleaser - "I wonder what he'll think of me."/God Pleaser - "I wonder what his needs are."
People Pleaser - "I've got to learn how to stop putting my foot in my mouth."/God Pleaser - "What is it in my heart that tempts me to say such foolish things?" and "What can I say that will edify others or bring glory to God?"

(The God Pleaser) doesn't allow the thought of unpleasant consequences to keep him or paralyze him from loving God and loving others.

At the end of the book, Priolo offers a worksheet dubbed "The Heart Journal" which basically helps you if you recognize a people-pleasing thought you have. You walk through 5 questions about it that probe at the real issues, what the Bible says about that sin, and how to handle the temptation next time.

Ironically, Challies was reading this book at the same time I was and has 2 great posts on it here and here. He even posts a great chart from the book!

Priolo devotes an entire chapter (Ch. 10 - What Are You Wearing?) to clothing yourself with humility, since the love of man's approval is rooted in the sin of pride.

I loved the steps and example conversation he gave in this chapter for seeking forgiveness biblically. This is so important in any relationship and the whole book is worth getting for this, found on pg. 173.

He also provides specific ways to esteem others better than yourself.

This book biblically covers issues such as your conscience, daily warlike mentality with sin, leaving your reputation to God, getting your priorities straight, trials, overvaluing friendships, etc.

I just want to leave you with a few of my favorite quotes.

Behind closed doors, he worships God, thanking Him for who He is and for all He has done. He confesses his sin to God, and repents of it. He agonizes in intercessory prayer. He gives of his money and material possessions in secret (if not anonymously). When he fasts, he does so in such a way that no one will know what he's up to. He prepares his heart for worship before he goes to church. He reads and studies the Bible regularly. He meditates on Scripture. He cooperates with the Holy Spirit in the sanctification process. He cares for his soul and for the souls of those for whom he is responsible. And if anyone tries to pressure him into additional public service, he will not accept it if, in his heart, he knows it will keep him from fulfilling his private obligations. Moreover, he behaves in an upright way when he is in his own home. His attitude is, 'I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart' (Ps. 101:2b). He flees temptation, resists the devil, and controls his temper and his appetites when no one is around just as he does when people are looking.

By keeping your heart filled with thanksgiving and your mind focused on worshipping God, you will gradually weaken the grip that people-pleasing has on you.

And finally... a helpful quote for a danger of people pleasing I hadn't considered lately. This one may be good for church leaders to keep in mind...

Another danger of overvaluing friendships has to do with doctrinal purity. Our churches are full of cowardly Christians who will not objectively study the Scriptures because they are afraid they might change their views and consequently face rejection from their family, friends, and church leaders.

I didn't know where to start and I don't know where to end. Just trust me. It's been really helpful so far. Now, by God's grace, the application begins... I definitely recommend it. If it isn't too stereotypical, I want to especially recommend this to the ladies. We are so relational. That is good. But we worry, fear, apologize, fret, compare, gossip, don't we? Much of that is rooted in THIS sin making THIS a very helpful tool either for ourselves or as a counseling resource.


Eron said...


Thanks James. Those Biblical Counseling guys are good, huh? I am about to finish Tripp's book on relationships. It is great so far.

Oh, and a chapter out of your book was inserted into The Journal of Modern Ministry. It is just a ministry journal that I read that is edited by Jay Adams. It is good stuff. But the chapter on pleasing God was put in there before the book came out, I think. I will read it for sure.



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