Most of the culture we live in is marked by ‘seeking approval’ from others. This comes in many forms and is seen all over the world; sadly, even in the church. Paul faced this problem head-on as he wrote his first letter to the Galatians.
“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). What mattered more than anything to Paul was preaching the pure gospel, “not man’s gospel” (1:11). That required getting the message from the right source.
Notice how important this point is for Paul. If he were in any degree seeking the approval of man, he “would not be a servant of Christ.” This attitude of heart brings freedom from trying to meet man’s expectations and allows us to focus our attention on where God wants us to go, what God wants us to say, and who He wants us to say it to. Do you qualify as a servant?
This was the benefit of Paul going to Arabia for about three years after his dramatic conversion at Damascus (1:17). We are not given the details of that time in his life, but he was away from the religious and political influences of the day. In this period of training alone with the Lord, Paul gained a clear understanding of the gospel, because he “did not receive it from any man, nor was [he] taught it, but…received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ” (1:12).
The test of anyone responsible for ministering the gospel to others in any capacity is by asking the question; ‘who do I want to please?’ That will also answer the question of where you receive the supply of truth, grace and strength? None of these can come from man. Have you taken the test?
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