Galatians 1:10 (NIV84)
10 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.
There is a juxtaposition in this verse. It is strong and clear. Either you are trying to persuade humankind to approve of you and your actions, or you are trying to win God’s favor. Paul would have known that God has already approved of him because of the work of Christ on the cross. That is the good news that had been abandoned for a works-based gospel, which isn’t good news at all. The point here is that Paul says that for the servant of Christ, there is no place to please people. There will only be chaos if that happens.
Of course, some will see this and make a point of offending other people as a proof that they are not people pleasers. Offenses will come, but they must come, if they come at all, from love and for the sake of the gospel! What? You mean I can’t just rant about my favorite controversial truth and let the chips fall where they may? Correct. With the wonderful gift of free will, we can, but to what end? What will that bring? The real test Paul is talking about here is, will you stand for the gospel of Jesus? Not being a people pleaser isn’t about being brash and offensive. It is about being courageous for Jesus when there may be a personal cost to pay.
To be a people pleaser is to be under the control of others. If you are under the Lordship of Jesus, He is your decision-maker. You have given a lot of control to God. If your aim is to make sure people like you and are happy with you, you will do what they want you to do. They will be your decision-maker. You see the problem, right? When we came to Christ, we died. I know that is not a popular concept. We like the concept of improvement when we came to Christ and gave Him our lives. But that is not the gospel. The gospel is that we died, and He made and is making us into a NEW (which would be improved) person.
It is a simple concept, but it is tough to do for the type of person who wants people to be happy with them. They like calm water. They don’t like ruffling feathers. There is no doubt that this can be very difficult for many, but the difficulty that we endure is worth it. I am here to say that you can do it. You can minister the gospel when it is uncomfortable. You can speak the truth with great love when that truth is going against the grain. We have life to deliver to people. We, and I include myself in this, must choose life. We must choose God.