One of my pitfalls as a human being is that I am a big people pleaser. I don’t like it when people are upset with me; I just want to make people happy. You may think that’s a good thing, and I’m just keeping other’s best interests at mind. But, being a people pleaser can have a serious down side. At times I can be tempted to twist the words of the bible, use them incorrectly, or just leave a verse or two out in order to make people happy. However, in Paul’s letter to the Galatians he makes it very clear that this is wrong in ch. 1, verse 10.
“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.”
Paul is doing much more than solidifying his ministry. He is calling the reader to evaluate their heart. Is your heart seeking to please man, or God? Do you seek to serve man, or Christ? Paul wants you to see where your heart is. He wants you to step back and look at who you are trying to please. If you are pleased by man, then you will seek to please man. However, if you are pleased by God, you will seek to please God. The one who wishes to please God is who becomes a servant of Christ.
Serving Christ can be quite difficult though. It’s not like people are going to be so happy that you’re seeking to please God. In fact, they will most likely get offended. They’ll say you’re “taking things too far”, or that you’re “being way to radical”. But, this should not surprise you, it should actually be expected. Paul makes this clear in 2 Timothy 4:3-5.
“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill you ministry.”
Paul makes it evident that people don’t want to hear what the Bible really has to say. Instead, they want to hear what makes them feel good about themselves. They want to hear about how they can have all the pleasures of the world and of heaven, and telling them otherwise can create some tension. That tension is one that will also breed hatred. And it is a hatred that we should rejoice in, because in that hatred we fulfill Jesus’s teachings in John 15:18-19.
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”
So, as you go throughout your daily life, strive to be a good steward of God’s word. Treat it with great care and respect. Be careful to remain true to the text, and teach sound doctrine. Do not fall into the temptation of teaching a people pleasing gospel. For a people pleasing gospel is not a gospel at all. Point people to Christ. And finally, embrace the hatred that comes from the world; because that hatred means you’re doing something right!