Baxter on Pleasing God vs Men
Around this time last year, I stumbled across a classic work written by Puritan giant, Richard Baxter, who is well known by most as the author of the Reformed Pastor. The title of his book is "Directions against Inordinate Man-pleasing", which is a remarkable reading. What I found most valuable is a section called "The Advantages of Pleasing God rather than Men", in which he listed 12 points. As I went through each point, it dawned on me that it would take for me to be able to tick off all points. As I've got to the final point, I was convinced that it would take me a lifetime to (even) try to accomplish it given the presence of indwelling sins within me. The difference of those who are in Christ is that we are no longer enslaved to please men.
Here are the 12 advantages of why we should aim to please God rather than men.
1. If you seek first to please God and are satisfied therein, you have but one to please instead of multitudes; and a multitude of masters are hardlier pleased than one.
2. And it is one that putteth upon you nothing that is unreasonable, for quantity or quality.
3. And one that is perfectly wise and good, not liable to misunderstand your case and actions.
4. And one that is most holy, and is not pleased in iniquity or dishonesty.
5. And he is one that is impartial and most just, and is no respecter of persons, Acts 10:34.
6. And he is one that is a competent judge, that hath fitness and authority, and is acquainted with your hearts, and every circumstance and reason of your actions.
7. And he is one that perfectly agreeth with himself, and putteth you not upon contradictions or impossibilities.
8. And he is one that is constant and unchangeable; and is not pleased with one thing to-day, and another contrary to-morrow; nor with one person this year, whom he will be weary of the next.
9. And he is one that is merciful, and requireth you not to hurt yourselves to please him: nay, he is pleased with nothing of thine but that which tendeth to thy happiness, and displeased with nothing but that which hurts thyself or others, as a father that is displeased with his children when they defile or hurt themselves.
10. He is gentle, though just, in his censures of thee; judging truly, but not with unjust rigour, nor making your actions worse than they are.
11. He is one that is not subject to the passions of men, which blind their minds, and carry them to injustice.
12. He is one that will not be moved by tale-bearers, whisperers, or false accusers, nor can be perverted by any misinformation.
Source: Richard Baxter, Directions against Inordinate Man-pleasing