Most people like to be liked. It’s natural. We’re social creatures. And we like it when people think highly of us. There are a lot of approaches on how to be liked. Some choose beauty. Some choose athletic skill. Others choose money, power, or position. And still others might choose trying to be all things to all people. Those are worldly attempts to increase your status and get people to like you. And in God’s eyes, none of those are the right approach. Sure, they might get you liked, but not for the right reasons, and probably not by the right people. Certainly going after wanting to be liked using those methods won’t be thought of very highly by God. And in the end, His opinion is really the only one that counts.
So what’s the best way to be thought of highly? We see it in David’s example, while he was still young, and it’s really simple. Here it is:
Then the commanders of the Philistines went out to battle, and it happened as often as they went out, that David behaved himself more wisely than all the servants of Saul. So his name was highly esteemed. – 1 Samuel 18:30, NASB
David acted wisely. So acting wisely is what brought him esteem. That’s what brings us esteem by the people who count. Now, in David’s case, that wasn’t true of everyone. After all, we know Saul hated him. Verse 29 tells us, “Thus Saul was David’s enemy continually.” So David wasn’t going to win brownie points with Saul by doing what was right in God’s sight. That was just continuing to pile on victories behind his name, thereby fracturing the relationship with Saul more and more. But David’s primary purpose was to follow God. And if that meant that his relationship with Saul suffered, then that was the way it had to be. Among the people who really counted, those who loved God, David’s esteem grew. Among those who may not have been as passionate, certainly, David’s stock rose, too.
So that’s the big “secret.” We act wisely. Among those who count, our esteem will rise. Even among those who may not care much about God, certainly, some will see us in a better light. Certainly God will be pleased. That means we don’t try to impress folks by anything else other than knowing what God desires and following through. If they don’t like us, then they don’t like us. We can’t make everyone like us. There’s no point in trying. But we can please God by doing His will and following His commands. That should be our focus. Like I said before, when it comes down to it, His opinion is really the only one that counts. But as a bonus, there will be plenty of folks who will esteem us more highly for being wiser than others who don’t take a similar path.