By Brooke Holt
“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. 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 1:6-10)
I could write a book about the desire to please people. It has consumed me my whole life! Words of affirmation are my primary love language, and I desperately long to hear those affirming words from the people in my life!
Consequently, Paul’s words cut me to the core as they challenge me that I can seek man’s approval or I can seek God’s approval. I can’t necessarily have both. That truth can be a hard pill to swallow for people-pleasers like me. When it is all said and done, who do I truly want to please—God or man?
Here is the great news—if you have accepted Jesus as your Savior, God is already pleased with you! When you put your faith in Jesus Christ, you received the righteousness of Christ. When the Lord looks down on you, he sees you through his Son. You are holy, righteous, and pleasing to him.
The bad news is you can receive this salvation and forgiveness as a gift, or you can dismiss the gift and seek to earn the salvation and forgiveness, which you will never, ever be able to do. Jesus would not have endured the cross if there was any other way.
Sadly, the church in Galatia was being led astray by Judaizers who insisted these Gentile converts must add to their faith by following the Old Testament laws. Many of these converts were led astray to get circumcised, make sacrifices, observe holy days, etc. They became focused on proving their faith to people instead of receiving their faith as a gift. Please God or please people?
It seems to be an easy decision, yet there are people like me who continue to long for the approval of man. The Lord’s divine invitation is to let that people-pleasing go. It is a burden no one can bear but Jesus. He paid the price so that you and I could be free. Let’s receive the gift and release the people-pleasing unto him today.
Have you considered you can seek to please God or man? How might you need to realign your focus today? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
In our six-week small group Bible study on the book of 1 John, you are invited to live and celebrate true life in Christ. Throughout his first letter, John wrestles with the assurance of salvation. How do we know that we are genuine Christians, and how can we recognize authentic faith in others? The Apostle John taught that you can enjoy full assurance through believing in the incarnate Son of God, walking in the light of obedience, and loving God and his children. Embark on this study with us today!
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