Romans chapter 15

Please Please Me.

Please Please Me is the first album recorded by The Beatles, rush-released on 22 March 1963 in the United Kingdom to capitalise on the success of singles “Please Please Me” (#1) and “Love Me Do” (#17). The hit single for which the album was named proved wildly popular on both sides of The Pond – in England and the States. But I doubt the title would have sat well with the apostle Paul. At least not according to what he had to say in Romans 15:

“But we who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak, and not just please ourselves. – Vs 1 NET

This Paul, not the co-author of the tune, would probably have taken exception to the lyrics “Please Please Me.” Instead, he would say that, “we should please others. If we do what helps them, we will build them up in the Lord” (NIV). I know the song has to do with a boy’s frustration with his girlfriend and her seeming lack of reciprocal love, but even so, Paul the apostle would probably suggest that whatever kind of love this young man is expecting in return, he has missed the whole point. For Paul, Jesus was the greatest example of someone not pleasing themselves. “For even Christ did not please Himself,” Paul reminds us. If He had, He would not have gone to the cross – the greatest expression of love there is or will ever be. But listen to the mournful words of the fictitious lover in the song:

You don’t need me to show the way, love.
Why do i always have to say “love,”
Please please me, whoa yeah, like i please you.

I don’t wanna sound complainin’,
But you know there’s always rain in my heart (in my heart).
I do all the pleasin’ with you, it’s so hard to reason
With you, whoah yeah, why do you make me blue.

Last night i said these words to my girl,
I know you never even try, girl,
Please please me, whoa yeah, like i please you.

This poor guy can’t seem to get no satisfaction, to borrow a phrase from another popular British 60s pop group. He was doing all the pleasin’. But all it left him was blue. What if he had taken Paul’s advice? What if he had lived by the maxim “we should please others. If we do what helps them, we will build them up in the Lord?” It might not have improved his love life, but it would have given him a new perspective on what true love really is in the first place. Jesus Himself said, “For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28 NLT). He came to serve and to love. To give away Himself on behalf of others. Jesus wasn’t concerned about his own pleasure. Paul says, “He didn’t make it easy for himself by avoiding people’s troubles, but waded right in and helped out. ‘I took on the troubles of the troubled,’ is the way Scripture puts it” (Vs 3 MSG). Jesus took on the troubles of the troubled and pleased His neighbors by providing a way to reconcile their lives with God. And according to Paul, that same ministry is our today. “All this newness of life is from God, who brought us back to himself through what Christ did. And God has given us the task of reconciling people to him” (2 Corinthians 5:18 NLT).

Life isn’t about pleasing me, it’s about pleasing God and helping others find the pleasure of having their lives restored to a right relationship to a holy God. That’s not always going to be a pleasurable assignment. But it will be a fulfilling one.

Father, I want my life to please please You, not me. I want to live my life to please my neighbors instead of myself. I want to learn to give myself away just as Your Son did. So that my life might be a pleasing aroma to You. Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men

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