In the past, whenever I've heard anything on the topic of pleasing mankind instead of God, I have always heard it referring to pleasing friends, the unsaved around us, or people you want to impress (bosses, boyfriends, etc). I particularly heard this topic as a teenager, referring to pleasing the "in crowd". However, when I was a teenager, I wasn't saved. I thought I was, though, and I was trying very hard to live a life I couldn't.
Now that I am saved, I still sin, but not in the habitual way that I did before I was believer. When I wasn't saved, my constant cycle of sin, ask for forgiveness, sin, try harder, sin, etc, naturally got me pretty down, because there was no change. Now that Christ did the changing, I am much more aware of the sins that pop up and much more willing and eager to turn to Christ for Him to take care of them. I don't want to grieve Him, and also I want the best life possible as a believer; I want my life to be pleasing to Him.
I have looked up some verses on this topic of pleasing God instead of mankind, and I would like to share them with you. I strongly believe that, as believers, the first places we need to turn when there is a sin that comes up in our life, is in prayer to Jesus and into His Word. We must have faith that He will make the changes needed.
"So whether we are at home [heaven] or away [earth], we make it our aim to please Him."
2 Corinthians 5:9
John MacArthur (from my ESV Study Bible) shares an interesting note on the word "please" in the above verse. He writes, "The term translated "please" is the same one used in Titus 2:9 to describe slaves who were passionate to please their masters."
"...but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who test our hearts."
1 Thessalonians 2:4
Every time I speak (or write) am I doing so to please God? Or man? If I share the gospel in a way that pleases unbelievers, it is doubtful they will get saved, because what would please them would probably be if I said to have faith in yourself, it's okay to make mistakes, and we'll all get to heaven some way or another. Not happening! If I share the gospel for the purpose of Godly men and women around me hearing and approving, where is my love for the unbelievers? Nowhere. And I believe that is a very thin veil they could see through rather quickly.
"...for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light...and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord."
What I aim to do in my life, is to try and determine what God would want in every decision I make. As far as I can tell, since we as believers are no longer living a life of sin and darkness but are now living in the light of the Lord, His will in our lives becomes plain. I have found this to be true in my life. The more I let Him live through me, the more quality time I spend with Him, the less I have to "hunt" to figure out His will.
"By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him."
I would once again like to share some of MacArthur's notes, on the above verses: "Genuine faith does not simply believe that a divine being exists, but that the God of Scripture is the only real and true God who exists. Not believing that God exists is equivalent to calling Him a liar. A person must believe not only that the true God exists, but also that He will reward men's faith in Him with forgiveness and righteousness, because He has promised to do so." How to please God? Have faith in Him. First, as an unbeliever, one needs to put their faith in Him by believing in Him. Then as a believer just continue life trusting Him with that same simplicity as when we originally believed.