There are many physical diseases in this world and in the spiritual realm there is one particular disease that will kill, destroy and eat you up in a very short time.
The ‘disease to please’ ruled my life for many years and if I have learned anything, repeatedly putting the wants and needs of others before my own leads to spiritual death that sucks the joy and peace right out of you.
Because many of us misunderstand what Christ meant when He said “deny yourself and take up your cross and follow me.” Somewhere along the way our minds twisted the truth of Christ’s words.
And as we misinterpret Christ’s command to deny ourselves an infection sets in, and we easily fall into the trap of gaining peoples’ approval through our actions. The infection is called people-pleasing.
We start to believe that other people matter more than we do and that we are to live humble, service-orientated lives because what we want doesn’t matter.
Geri Scazzero is a pastor’s wife and in her book The Emotionally Healthy Woman, she describes the ‘disease to please’ this way:
“If a need crossed my path, then it was God’s will that I should meet it. This was obviously the right thing to do. I felt guilty if I didn’t. . . I mistakenly believed that good, loving Christians were characterized by five things; they never say no; they have an active social calendar, they juggled many things without complaining, they got things done and they put others needs before their own.”
Essentially, what others want or need is so important, that we deny our desires and inspirations believing they are insignificant compared to ‘doing’ things for others.
We become infected with the ‘disease to please.’ We become robotic and unfulfilled unaware that these desires, and the inspiration that come with it, are often a strong indication of God’s calling and purpose for our lives.
So, what did Christ mean when He said:
“If anyone desires to be My disciples, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me: (Matthew 16:24)
There is a distinction between dying to sin like gossip, lying, being judgemental of others and dying to things that bring us life. It’s a gray line that can trip us up because we don’t understand that God never asks us to die to things that bring life to our souls.
But often that is what we end up doing.
God has a call for your life, and we must set boundaries and set aside those distractions that hinder you from fulfilling it.