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?
– Galatians 1:10
Wow. There is a lot to soak in here specifically in the context of Galatians 1. Paul is addressing how Christians in Galatia were deserting the grace of Christ and turning to a gospel of works. This is a theme he’ll come back to over and over again in the book of Galatians.
Galatians 1:10 Presents the choice to live to please others or live to please God.
But here, he draws a distinction between living for the approval of others and living for the approval of God. He says, and that’s the last part of verse 10… If I was trying to please others then I would not be a servant of Jesus. Galatians 1:10 is a reminder to all of us, to you and me today, that we have a choice. The choice to live to please others or live to please God.
We can live as servants, as slaves of others’ opinions of us. We can live today, tomorrow, and the next day and the next day constantly thinking about what others think of us, how others perceive us, try to gain standing with others. But as long as we are slaves to pleasing others, as long as we are slaves to others’ opinions of us, we will not be able to serve Jesus and we will not be able to please God.
It’s not that when we please God and we serve Jesus that we don’t care about others. We love others as ourselves. And we serve others. We lay down our lives for others. The Bible calls us to do things in relationship to others, but it’s not for their approval. It is not because we want to be liked. It’s not because we want them to think well of us. It’s because we want to please God. And it pleases God to love others. It’s serving Jesus to serve others.
But there is a fine line there when we start looking to others and their opinions of us for our worth, our value, our confidence. I just want to encourage you today. Find worth, find value, find confidence, first and foremost in being a child of God. Be a servant of Christ and live to honor him.
Galatians 1:10 Teaches that we can please our heavenly Father by grace.
Seek his approval by his Grace. And know that when you do, you’ll not only have a secure foundation for your own identity, worth, and value. You will not be pulled up and down by what others think or what you think others think about you. You won’t be on this rollercoaster ride that will inevitably take you on in this world feeling good about yourself if you think they think well about you. Feeling bad about yourself, if you think they think poorly of you.
Oh, don’t live like that. The Bible is telling us, live with the security you have as a servant of Jesus Christ. Live for the approval of God, for the pleasure of God. When you do this, it will not just be good for you in all these ways, but it’ll actually be good for others because you’ll not be self-serving in your relationship with others. You will be selfless and you’ll be free to love them, to care for them, to serve them regardless of what they may think about you, because that’s not what’s driving you. Your eyes are fixed on Jesus as his servant, and your eyes are fixed on God as you live to seek his glory.
God make us this kind of people, the kind of Galatians 1:10 type of people who are seeking your approval, who are living as servants of Jesus. Free us, we pray, from being enslaved to being liked or being approved by others in this way or that way. God help us to love others for your glory. Help us to love others for their good and help us not to live not for what others think about us, but for what others think about you.
God, even in light of the context here in Galatians 1, help us, we pray, to spread the true gospel, not concerned about what others will think of us. Forgive us for being silent with the gospel because we’re afraid of what others will think about us. God, free us from that. Help us to love others and you enough today to share the gospel with somebody else. God, help us to lay down our reputations for the sake of others’ salvation and your glory. Lord, we pray this for people around us that we’ll interact with today.
Prayer for the Albanian People
God, we pray for people around the world, for Albanians today specifically. In Albania and all kinds of different places where they have dispersed. God, we pray for this unreached people group. We pray that you would raise up men and women who would live not to please others, but to spread the gospel among Albanians. We pray that you would draw Albanian men and women and children to know your love in Christ, that they might be servants of Christ and children of yours, that they might find their identity in you as the Creator who loves them. God help us to lay down our lives, not so that they will think well of us, but so they might be saved from their sins and might think well of, give glory to you as their Lord and Savior. In Jesus’ name we pray according to Galatians 1:10. Amen.