People-pleasing is predominant among teens. As they develop a stronger sense of their own identity, they seek approval and acceptance from others. Christian-parented teens are commonly motivated by people-pleasing to study the Bible. They feel a great deal of pressure to study the Bible to please their Christian parent(s), siblings and friends. They can strive to give the “right” responses to questions, not necessarily their own true heartfelt responses.


Whose approval is important to you?
Who do you want to get approval from?

  • Myself
  • Parents or teachers
  • Teen leaders and older disciples
  • Friends


  • To be accepted, liked, popular
  • To feel good about myself
  • Because if feels good to be praised

The goal of this study is to help you to see the importance of pleasing God and seeking praise and approval from Him.

The Scriptures

41 “I do not accept glory from human beings, 42 but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. 44 How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God[a]?

What is Jesus teaching in this Scripture?

  • We need to follow his example by focusing on getting praise from God, not people.
  • We will please the people we love the most.

Bottom Line: These people knew the truth but did not follow it because of peer pressure. They cared more about their reputation with people than they cared about doing what was right before God.

10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

What does Paul tell it’s about the difference between pleasing people and pleasing God?

They are opposites!

When are you tempted to “please God” with the motivation to actually please people?

  • Going to church
  • Obeying parents because they said so, not because you want to please God
  • Serving, but wanting recognition for all you do by peers or leaders

Bottom Line: When we strive to please God, we may not be popular with the world, but keep in mind that man’s approval is temporary, while God’s approval is eternal!

14 They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay the imperial tax[a] to Caesar or not?

What does it mean to be “swayed by men”?

Who are you most likely to be swayed by?

What does “integrity” mean

  • Sticking to your convictions no matter what
  • Doing what you said on would do and doing it on time

Bottom Line: Jesus was not swayed by men and we need to imitate this quality in him.

So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

Why should we care about pleasing God?

  • It doesn’t just happen. It has to be a set goal.
  • We all (every single person, whether we believe in God or not) will be accountable for our lives.
  • Jesus died for us and we should be motivated to live for him

Personal Heart Check Questions

1. Can you relate to the people-pleasing Pharisees in any way?

2. Have you counted the cost of studying the Bible? Becoming a Christian will affect your reputation with your non-Christian friends.

3. What does your life-style and priorities say about how much faith you have in God?

Practical Applications

Write out a half-page response about why you really want to study the Bible.