We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.
Why do students of Jesus do what they do? Of course, it is important to try to do the right thing, but perhaps more crucial – from God’s point of view - are the motives for our actions.
Paul knows what he is talking about from personal experience. Both as a persecutor of Christians in his early life and now as an apostle in later life!
In both instances, Paul seeks to please God. He persecutes Christians when he mistakenly thinks it pleases God. Then he meets Jesus and begins to teach the Good News for the same reason!
Paul sums it up with these words - We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else.
Here Paul informs the believers in Thessalonica about what motivates him to teach about Jesus. To become successful students of Jesus they too must learn to have a higher motive for following Him than seeking the approval of people.
With the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in spite of strong opposition.
Knowing this is a tremendous encouragement to the new Christians because they too face opposition. Like Paul, they must learn to seek to please God even if it means the disapproval of others.
Pleasing the Teacher is the motivation for every successful student of Jesus. For to become more like Him will sometimes bring persecution from others! Why?
Sometimes because of jealousy or prejudice! Often because doing the right thing makes those who are unwilling to change their lives feel condemnation by comparison. If anyone can change for the better, then everyone could! People do what they do, but God is testing their hearts, the motives.