Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pleaser - Galatians 1:10

"For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God?
Or am I striving to please men?
If I were still trying to please men,
I would not be a bond servant of Christ."
(Galatians 1:10)

Man pleaser or God pleaser? 
     Where do we fall? 
          Which side do we land on?

Quite often it is a real battle. Am I living for the approval and accolades of people or am I living for the glory of God and the good of His kingdom?

Our right or wrong understanding of the gospel may play a key role in which side of the line we find ourselves standing on.

For me personally, there is often a conflict between the two.

The apostle Paul, here in verse 10, points us to the type of pleaser we should be and the gospel of grace truly is the hinge pin for it all.

Galatians began with a description of Paul's office. He was "an apostle (not sent from men, nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead)...."

Right off the bat he makes it clear that his goal and his mission are not man-centered but Christ-centered. He has been called by God for God and not by man to please man. In light of that calling and in response to the distorted gospel of the preachers of works righteousness, Paul, in verse 10 becomes a bit more direct in his language regarding whom it is that we are to please.

Now remember, the gospel that Paul has proclaimed is one of grace - absolute amazing grace. He tells us of Christ who gave Himself for our sins. He proclaims the sacrifice of Jesus not the sacrifices of sinners. He speaks of what the Lamb of God has done and not of what we have done or of what we must do. He writes of God's "willing" of our deliverance and of Christ's giving Himself for that deliverance.

Paul's gospel is completely God-centered. 100% of it is His doing.

"So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs,
but on God who has mercy." (Romans 9:16)

"But by God's doing you are in Christ Jesus...." (1 Corinthians 1:30)

"For by grace you have been saved through faith;
and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
not as a result of works that no one should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Paul's gospel leaves us nothing to boast in.
Nothing but sovereign mercy - nothing!
It pierces our pride and slams our self-sufficiency.
It humbles us in our own weak and incapable state...
          ...and then lift's us up in God's gracious power manifest on our behalf!

This gospel of grace most assuredly has its foes. False prophets have risen up seeking to draw us away from the simplicity of God's good news and they have desired to disturb us into deserting into the wilderness of works. That's what Paul has been battling in verses 6-10. He's been fighting against a message that seeks to stroke us on the back and pat us on the head and tell us "Hey, you're not all that bad. You have a lot to offer. Don't listen to all of this nonsense that would tell you that you're a hopeless and helpless sinner. Sure Jesus came, but He came simply to help you stir up all of that good which is hidden down deep inside. You can do it, friend!"

No doubt, a salvation that we are able to earn is a proud and people pleasing proclamation. Equally beyond doubt, a salvation that only God can give is a self-humbling and God-exalting message.

Paul will be no people pleaser here. He is called to please His Lord. He will please His Lord by pointing us away from ourselves and pointing us to our Savior.

In this context the temptation for people pleasing in Paul's life is to pat folks on the back and say, "OK, you're right. I've been a little bit hard on you. This other gospel is still gospel. In the end it will all sift out the same." The temptation for Paul came in regards to the message that was his life.

Where does the temptation for people pleasing hit in our lives? What's the rub for us that would cause us to care more about them than Him? Search it out and pray for mercy to destroy it my friends. Our chief end is His glory not our own. Our chief joy is found in Him and in nothing else. The greatest pleasures rest in pleasing our Creator and King. Our end is to please God and find His favor, not man's.

Matthew Henry wrote:

"No man can serve two masters, and therefore he dare not allow himself to gratify men at the expense of his faithfulness to Christ."

Let us check our hearts.

Let us check our motives.

Let us rest in the gospel of grace which alone can change them both.

Christ "gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us out of this present evil age." Christ even gave Himself for our sin of people-pleasing in order to deliver us out of it and place us squarely into the center of a God-pleasing life.

Heed Paul's words. "For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Am I striving to please men?"

Rest upon Paul's answer. "If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ."

The key to no longer living as a slave of people is to live as a bond-servant of Jesus!

A recovering people-pleaser seeking to live as a renewed bond-servant,

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