Posts Tagged ‘Galatians 1:10’

Lifestyle Issues

March 11th, 2015

“We urge you to live in a way that pleases God.” 1 Thessalonians 4:1 NLT.

Trying to please everyone is as futile as trying to never offend anyone.

My thoughts and comments today are about “lifestyle issues.”

EDL pix walking with God

If you try to please everyone, you will ultimately please no one and make yourself miserable in the process. Trying to please everyone is as futile as trying to never offend anyone. Neither is practical or achievable. Life is simpler when you finally decide who you are going to please. And the worst possible alternative is to live to please no one but yourself. The Bible warns, “Do not think of yourself more highly than you should. Instead be modest in your thinking.” Romans 12:3 TEV.

Many things pressure you to conform to others’ demands and expectations. Resist the temptation of doing so. The Apostle Paul offers a practical self-inventory, “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10 NIV. Obviously, Paul recognized a previous time when he was “still trying to please men,” and the inconsistency that resulted.

The proper conclusion is this: when you can serve both God and man, do so. When you cannot, serve and please God above all others. “Our aim is to please Him always . . for we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done.” 2 Corinthians 5:9-10 NLT. Never forget the One to whom you owe first allegiance.

The surrounding culture may press you to conform your attitudes, values, and conduct in less than exemplary ways; live as unto the Lord. See Romans 12:1-2 NIV. Current circumstances might seem to impose an urgency of attention they may not warrant; live above your present circumstance. An unhealthy family history may have enslaved you in habitual behaviors, struggling to please people who simply refuse to be pleased; live free of unjust expectations. Some have had the unfortunate experience of working for a boss you could not please, a relative from whom you never gained their approval, or a parent or spouse who never affirms you. That is sad, but not uncommon. Such experiences present lifestyle issues.

Ultimately, the only hope of pleasing others is to confidently know that you have first pleased God. Here is the Bible’s definitive guideline: “Finally, we urge you in the name of the Lord Jesus to live in a way that pleases God, as we have taught you. You are doing this already, and we encourage you to do so more and more.” Read 1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:1 NLT. After struggling unsuccessfully to please others, maybe your question would be, “How then can I please God?” Pleasing people is complicated; pleasing God is not. “Do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Hebrews 13:16 NIV. See Romans 14:17-18 NIV.

The task is not yours alone; God gives you all that is required; you supply obedience. “May God equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ.” Hebrews 13:21 NIV. Paul’s answer was this, “. . we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way . .” Colossians 1:9-10 NIV. Paul then elaborates on what pleases God, “. . bearing fruit, growing in knowledge, strengthened with power, having endurance and patience, joyfully giving thanks, brought into the Kingdom, and having redemption and the forgiveness of sins.” Read Colossians 1:11-14 NIV.

I love the simplicity with which the Bible described ancient Enoch, a man that walked with God, “Enoch had this testimony, that he pleased God.” Read Hebrews 11:5-6 (See Genesis 5:21-24).

Today, my prayer for you is that at life’s end, His testimony and yours will be that you pleased God.

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Approval Ratings

October 12th, 2012

“Am I trying to win the approval of men, or of God?” Galatians 1:10 NIV

The quest of the human spirit for approval finds realization in the affirming love of God.

My thoughts and comments today are about “approval ratings.”

Even the youngest child seeks signs of approval from the most important people in their life, Mom and Dad. Whatever your age, you will not realize your full potential without your worth and abilities being recognized and affirmed. A person who lives with an approval deficit may seek recognition where they will least find it. When I was a young Dad, my stepfather, Warren – a father, church planter, and pastor of many years – gave me sound advice, “Every child needs lots of sincere ‘atta boys’ to grow up healthy and confident.” I have found that true of boys and girls alike, and plenty of adults as well. I am not sure you ever outgrow your need for others’ affirmation. Warren is a wise man and I saw his practical wisdom in the effect of his encouraging words in the lives of our children and grandchildren.

Approval is an assurance you feel in your heart when affirming words are spoken by people who matter in your life. However, needing approval from others can become addictive with diminishing return. Paul recognized the subtle temptation to look more to men than to God, “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I am still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ?” Galatians 1:10 NIV. Apparently, Paul once relied on the approval of men which was sometimes at odds with his obedience to God. Man’s approval can be difficult to earn, fleeting to keep, and woefully inadequate.

The common quest of the human spirit finds its fullest realization in the affirming, accepting love of God. “I care very little if I am judged by you . . indeed, I do not even judge myself . . it is the Lord who judges me.” Read 1 Corinthians 4:2-5 NIV. Leave your evaluation safely in God’s hands, with this confidence, “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Genesis 18:25 NIV.

I think any of us could admit to some conflicting mixture of motives in this regard. Everyone wants to be liked and desires others think well of them. Be careful. Be wise to the tyranny of others’ opinions, lest you acquire a need for their approval that is misdirecting. In politics, people in public office seem always to be worrying about “approval ratings.” Politically, they obsess over polls. There are endless opinion polls testing voters’ approval of political decisions and positions. In politics that may be unavoidable; in life that can be slavish.

There are times you cannot please men and God at the same time. When uncertain, please God. Whose opinion is most influential in what you do and why you do so? The approval of man is no easy achievement for the best of people, and can be fickle as well. Live with consideration and regard for others’ opinion, but live first and foremost for the Savior’s benediction, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Ultimately, only the Lord’s approval really matters.

My prayer for you today is that you live with a secure knowledge of God’s approval.

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