“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)
I have been thinking of this verse for a quite a while now and it has come up in a number of places recently, so I knew I had to share my thoughts about it.
I often think how easy it is to try and be a people-pleaser. Do you ever find yourself trying to do that? I know I do sometimes, only to be reminded of the above verse.
I just returned from a youth conference which lasted for 3 and a half days. It was a blessed time and truly a fun and sweet time of fellowship. The staff was the largest I can remember for a youth conference, so there were many hands helping out. A true blessing! One of the devotions shared at a late night counsellors meeting dealt with what it means to be a servant. The points that were brought out struck a chord with me and I’d like to share what I realised as the conference ended.
As we sat with the youth in the morning, one of the questions we asked had to do with Yeshua being their Lord. We sing about Him being Lord, we call Him Lord, we pray in the name of the Lord Yeshua. But is He really their Lord? The Lord Yeshua said “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter” (Matthew 7:21). This is something that is critically important to ask ourselves. If He is our Lord, do we really give Him all? Do we really seek to please Him? Do we really honour Him in all our ways? Those are things we need to examine in our hearts daily, especially if we say Yeshua is our Lord.
The idea of a bond-servant has always interested me. In Bible times, it was a person who became a slave, willingly or not, but chose to stay with His master because of love, despite having the option to be free and leave. The topic is very broad and I cannot fully explore it here. But what got to me was the idea that if I call Yeshua my Lord, that means that I am His servant. Psalm 123:2 says “Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, So our eyes look to the LORD our God, Until He is gracious to us”. That means that I with all of my desire to serve the Lord, if I try to please people, I am not looking at my Master’s hand. His hand is the one that guides me, leads me and urges me to move or stay where I am. Yet, what happens when I seek to please myself, not necessarily others? Yesterday, as the youth began to board the buses to leave, some of the counsellors were waiting to see if there was room for us or if we would need to take a train or a public bus. My brother called me to hurry and get on, so I figured there was room. I said I was going to put my stuff on the bus and get on. Others asked if there was room for everyone. I wasn’t sure and said I’ll check and they said they can take public transportation. All of a sudden, I realised my selfishness in hurrying. I really did want to see if there was room for everyone, yet did not wait for the response. Instead, I cared about getting my stuff on the bus. Eventually, there was room for everybody, but I felt ashamed of myself for not trusting the Lord in arranging the ride home. It may sound like a very silly or trivial matter, but I feel that even in the trivial matters, we should seek to please God. Trying to please others includes trying to please Me as well.
I truly want to serve God and seek Him. Yet I find that that is something that needs to be worked on daily. It requires a desire to actively pursue my relationship with God.
Paul said in 1st Corinthians 11:1 “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ” , meaning we should follow his example just as he follows Yeshua. Yeshua was a servant to all, put everyone before Himself and led by example. In Luke 9:58 Yeshua said: “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” And, John 19:30 says, “Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit”. The Greek words for “laying his head” and “bowing his head”, have the same root. In other words, the Lord Yeshua rested only when He completed what His Master, God the Father, sent Him to do. Obviously, we also need times of rest. Yeshua even planned resting times for His desciples. But, I believe that the idea to follow here is in how Yeshua acted as a servant, seeking to please His Father, looking to His Father’s hand until He finished what He came to do. If He had tried to please Himself and act for His own comfort, all hope for us of eternal life and redemption would have been lost. Praise the Lord He didn’t!
I’d love to hear about how you are running the race! May we seek to please God as the Lord Yeshua always did and continue to run the race faithfully.