I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. – 1 Corinthians 4:3-4 (NIV)
The Corinthians battled over the preacher whom they judged to be the best or the message that they liked most, but Paul dismissed their judgment entirely. Human judgment was as worthless before God as human wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:6). Because he had been called by God to serve, Paul owed allegiance to God alone, and he looked to God alone to judge his performance. As a steward serves the master of the estate, so Paul served God. Paul did not concern himself with what any group of people thought of his teaching style or his message. Paul did not even depend on his own self-evaluation—I do not even judge myself. When he did look within, Paul could honestly say that he had a clear conscience, but that did not mean he was innocent. The Lord alone could make that pronouncement. Paul was accountable to God and would be judged by God alone.
The New Testament illustrates the importance of pleasing God, not people. The secret to pleasing God is faith, obedience, and service. (The following verses are quoted from the NLT.)
“Jesus said, ‘When you have lifted up the Son of Man on the cross, then you will realize that . . . I do nothing on my own, but I speak what the Father taught me.’” – John 8:29.
Believers are to follow totally, just as Christ did.
“So our aim is to please him always, whether we are here in this body or away from this body.” – 2 Corinthians 5:9.
Believers should aim always to please God in their words and actions.
“Those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.” – Galatians 6:8.
Believers are assured of great reward when they live to please and honor God.
“Try to find out what is pleasing to the Lord.” – Ephesians 5:10.
Believers will be shown what God wants them to do if they ask him.
“We ask [God] to make you wise with spiritual wisdom. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and you will continually do good, kind things for others.” – Colossians 1:9-10.
Believers can ask God for wisdom to help them live to honor and please him.
“Our purpose is to please God, not people. He is the one who examines the motives of our hearts.” – 1 Thessalonians 2:4.
Believers must always focus on pleasing God; then even if they don’t please people, they know that their consciences are clear.
“Finally . . . we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:1.
Believers are urged to please God because of what Jesus has done for them.
“It is impossible to please God without faith.” – Hebrews 11:6.
The most important ingredient to pleasing God is faith that trusts him for salvation.