I’m continuing my look at the book of Galatians. It’s Paul’s letter combatting legalism. He starts off by talking about his own walk with the Lord. What was the Apostle’s motive toward the ministry?
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.
This verse deals with some key motivational attitudes. What is it that you’re actively trying to accomplish in your ministry? If your fulfillment isn’t coming from Christ, then there may be some course correction that’s needed.
The first important word in this verse is approval. The phrase, trying to win the approval of men, means to convince men.
Are you trying to convince people that they need to serve God? If you are, that’s the first sign of a man pleaser. It’s not our job to convince people.
We’re called to hear from the Holy Spirit, then to speak the Word that we’ve heard. It’s the job of the Holy Spirit to use the Word to convict and convince those listening. This is something Paul was keenly aware of.
My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.
1 Corinthians 2:4-5
The next important word is trying. It means to desire and seek after.
Where are you seeking your validation from? That may require some soul searching to truly answer the question. Sometimes we don’t even realize that we’re looking to man.
You preach the Word. Many lives are touched and blessed by the message. One person comes up to you after the service and tells you they didn’t agree with you. Suddenly you feel like a failure and want to quit the ministry. That’s a sign that you’re seeking in the wrong direction.
It’s nice when our ministry has a positive effect on those who receive it. But that’s not always a requirement of the assignment we’ve been given. I’m glad that Christ didn’t rely upon the response of the Pharisees to continue His plan to save us.
The final phrase I want to look at is to please men. That literally means to get an emotional response from people.
Are you trying to stir people’s emotions? Emotionalism and hype are the mainstays of the entertainment industry. In case you didn’t already know this, the ministry of the Word is NOT a form of entertainment.
It’s so unfortunate that many churches build their services around the American entertainment model. Please understand; I know that we have to present the message of Christ in a way that’s relevant to our society. In that sense, there will always be a measure of professionalism.
We want the music, the flow of the service, and the time investment to be welcoming to those attending. It’s the motivation that needs to be examined. What’s the goal?
Am I choreographing the service so that at one point people will stand to their feet and cheer? Am I out to bring tears to peoples’ eyes?
According to Paul, my ultimate goal is to serve Christ. I firmly believe that if I do that well; then emotions will be stirred. But instead of a passing excitement, their lives will be changed by the power of God.
Like the Apostle Paul, we need to have the attitude of a God pleaser.
Question: When have you had to choose between pleasing God or man?
© Nick Zaccardi 2017