Galatians 1:10 (ESV) — For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
I’m a people pleaser by nature. Not everybody is like this, but I am. I’m sure there are insecurities and childhood need for acceptance, approval from my dad, and all kinds of other factors in it. But the other part of it is that tendency in each of us to fit in. The average person doesn’t like resistance and going against the grain of acceptable beliefs and behaviors.
In this way, everyone is living to please somebody. We may live to please our parents and make them proud. We may be living to please a spouse or significant other. Our boss may be the object of our labors and work. We want them to approve of our work. At the heart of much of this is our identity and sense of self-worth. But the danger in this propensity is how it makes us vulnerable to living in ways that go against God’s commands. It leaves us at risk for living to gain the world’s acceptance instead of God’s.
Our passage today shows us this reality. The apostle Paul asks some rhetorical questions about seeking the approval of man and living to please man. He says that if he were still trying to please man he couldn’t be a servant of Christ. It would disqualify him. It is impossible to simultaneously be a servant of Christ and live to please man. Why? Because, eventually, what they demand of you will conflict. When Christ’s commands and will for your life conflict with what seeking the approval of man requires, that renders you incapable of being a servant of Christ.
Christian perseverance is about seeking Christ’s approval and living to please Him above anyone or anything else. We need to guard our hearts in this with our friends, parents, spouse, employer, and influencers on social media. The pressure to conform and live to please man confronts us around every corner of the modern world. Each of us must choose who will get our lives. We must determine who will be the object we seek to please. Christians choose Christ, not just once, but daily.
Reflection & Journal:
- Why is people pleasing such an easy trap and temptation?
- How do you personally find yourself tempted toward people pleasing tendencies?
- Why is Jesus the only one worthy of living for with your life?
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