Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant. Galatians 1:10
Do you remember what it was like to be a middle schooler? I do, and you could not pay me enough money to go back. One of the most difficult parts for me was this constant need to prove myself. I remember feeling like I had to prove myself to my teachers, to my friends, and even to other classmates. There was a constant desire and need to belong, while at the same time, I felt like I did not measure up. Maybe you can relate. If I am not careful, some of these feelings that I must prove myself to be a worthy friend, worker, and even family member, begin to rise up in me. Praise God that Scripture is greater than my thoughts and feelings and that with God, there is nothing to prove. He loves me, and each one of us, simply because we belong to Him.
As we study about the apostle Paul’s life and ministry in Scripture, one thing that becomes clear is that he lived freely, not under the need for approval from others. Because of this, he spoke boldly and confidently. He lived his life unapologetically for Christ. What was his secret? He let us in on this secret in Galatians 1:10. “I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” Paul’s not-so-secret secret was that He lived solely for the approval of Christ. He did not seek to win the approval of human beings because, to him, their approval did not matter. Christ’s opinion, however, was everything to him. Every decision, every step he took was for Christ. This built up the freedom, boldness, and confidence that led him to be the greatest missionary who literally spread the message of Jesus all across the world.
Choosing to center our lives around Christ and live for His approval instead of the approval of other people is very easy to talk about, but much more difficult to actually live out. In our world, temptation to live for the approval of people is everywhere. Before we know it, we can become swept up in living for the approval of those around us. This means that we must be intentional each and every day to live like Paul, living unapologetically for the approval of Christ and Christ alone. Every decision we make, and every step we take, we must be intentional and deliberate to make decisions to honor Christ and Him alone. We must also model this for our children and teach them to let go of the desire to please people for something far greater, Christ’s approval. As difficult as it may be, may you and I be up for the task of letting go of anyone’s approval but God’s.
Spend time journaling about the verses from the reading for today. What differences does it make in your life that you do not have to prove yourself to God? What would it look like for you personally to truly believe and live like you do not have to prove yourself to anyone? Are you struggling to live in this reality? If so, how can you start to live in this reality today? Write down one step you can take to start living knowing you have nothing to prove.
Read Galatians 1:1-24 (NLT)
This letter is from Paul, an apostle. I was not appointed by any group of people or any human authority, but by Jesus Christ himself and by God the Father, who raised Jesus from the dead.
All the brothers and sisters here join me in sending this letter to the churches of Galatia.
May God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. Jesus gave his life for our sins, just as God our Father planned, in order to rescue us from this evil world in which we live. All glory to God forever and ever! Amen.
I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ.
Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you. I say again what we have said before: If anyone preaches any other Good News than the one you welcomed, let that person be cursed.
Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.
Dear brothers and sisters, I want you to understand that the gospel message I preach is not based on mere human reasoning. I received my message from no human source, and no one taught me. Instead, I received it by direct revelation from Jesus Christ.
You know what I was like when I followed the Jewish religion—how I violently persecuted God’s church. I did my best to destroy it. I was far ahead of my fellow Jews in my zeal for the traditions of my ancestors.
But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace. Then it pleased him to reveal his Son to me so that I would proclaim the Good News about Jesus to the Gentiles.
When this happened, I did not rush out to consult with any human being. Nor did I go up to Jerusalem to consult with those who were apostles before I was. Instead, I went away into Arabia, and later I returned to the city of Damascus.
Then three years later I went to Jerusalem to get to know Peter, and I stayed with him for fifteen days. The only other apostle I met at that time was James, the Lord’s brother. I declare before God that what I am writing to you is not a lie.
After that visit I went north into the provinces of Syria and Cilicia. And still the churches in Christ that are in Judea didn’t know me personally. All they knew was that people were saying, “The one who used to persecute us is now preaching the very faith he tried to destroy!” And they praised God because of me.