King James Version
For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
I loved this verse when my son was young. It was one that was often quoted at our house. During his teen years, I firmly believed it was a great verse to share with children to help keep them well grounded when the inevitable peer pressure was sure to present itself. The truth is, though, this is a great verse for us at any age! We should all seek to please our Heavenly Father, before anyone else, or even ourselves for that matter.
Life is full of decisions, and often the decisions can involve compromise; or a desire to please others rather than what we really want to do; or what we know is right. In a time when there seems to be a pervasive desire for “tickling ears”, it is much easier to say what somebody wants to hear, rather than say what can often times be more difficult. We are all familiar with “political correctness” run amuck. But even in Paul’s day, there was a battle to state what is true. Paul’s enemies and adversaries accused him of trying to placate all.
But Paul came out boldly in response to such accusations. When Paul was addressing the Galatians, he didn’t mince words. He came right to the point. And the point was - he wanted only to share the true Gospel message. He wanted to preach only what he knew God would have him preach. Paul had no desire to please men. We can take this to heart in ensuring we stay true to Biblical precepts, and we can take it to heart in ensuring we act according to what we are taught in those precepts.
When I used this verse to help my son make right choices, I thought mostly of battling those that might try to draw him into sin. But honestly, this can also be true of those that might try to hold him in the bondage of their type of Christianity requiring acceptance of their own private belief system as they try to demand of us: “you must do this”, or “you must do that”. In either case – the bondage of sin, or likewise the bondage of someone else’s rules - it isn’t man we should be trying to please. While being careful not to offend for the sake of Christ, we also must stand firm as we seek to serve God.
Whose approval do you seek? Pray for the courage to always seek God’s approval first. There seems to be a push for us to be above all things, conciliatory in order to get along in this day and age. We would be wise to remember Paul’s words when the pressure strikes: “if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” We can be like Paul - responsible to God alone. There is a whole lot of freedom in that.
Luke 6: 26
1 Corinthians 10:31-33