“Am I now trying to win the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 3:10
Recently, I heard a gentleman who was over the age of eighty say, “I just wish I did not care what other people think of me.” It struck me that no matter our age, below the surface of our hearts is a lingering worry of how we are perceived. In The True Measure of a Man, Richard Simmons (NOT that one!) writes that the number one question men struggle with but will not admit is: “What will they think of me?”
This morning I came across Paul’s opening words to the church in Galatia and I realized how long this struggle has been going on…The church in Galatia was being taught a false Gospel–one that suggests they can earn God’s love–and Paul frustrated that they have turned away from his message. But Paul knows who his true audience was: God.
As he says in Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as if you were working for the Lord and not for Man.” We work of an audience of One. But are tempted to appease everyone.
While Jesus was preaching, we are told that “Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in Him. But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved praise from men more than praise from God.”
Here we see a group of people who are afraid of publicly following Jesus because they are afraid of the social capital that would be lost. Instead they want to remain the cool-insiders within the community.
Are you tempted to please people? Are you seeking God or the praise of others? What would you different today if you were seeking the approval of God and not man?