for am i now seeking the approval of man, or of God? or am i trying to please man? if i were still trying to please man, i would not be a servant of Christ. [galatians 1:10]
i don’t think that i am out of order to say that every sin is rooted in a disorder of priority. when we sin, we have valued something (ourselves, sex, money, relationships, etc.) higher than we value the Glory of God. because man’s approval or disapproval can be felt by us in the flesh, here–now–we place a much higher value on the infinite pleasure of God in our being conformed to Christ.
this verse hits close to home. i am a people pleaser. i grew up as the favored child, the teacher’s pet, achieving highly to gain the approval, the grades, the awards and accolades that came when i exceeded what was expected. i made these things my gods.
i was a whitewashed tomb. on the inside was (and still is) a hypocrite, selfish and full of self pity, a need to be loved by men. my sin festered and grew, and threatened to destroy my marriage, my family, myself.
God saved me out of this–he brought me to the end of myself through a deep depression, a season of confession and repentance of secret sin so that i might behold the work of the cross, to see that i can find joy and value only in him. there are still vestiges of selfishness in my life. i still seek approval in the relationships in my life, but i am asking the Lord to make me his servant, to seek his approval alone.
in a recent sermon on marriage, i heard the admonition “love HIM more, love her less”– the idea that the way that we best love our wives is by loving Christ more, seeking Christ above all earthly approval. the message applies to all human relationships–we should not seek approval of human beings, because approval is about ME. for me to truly love others, i must desire the approval of God, the pleasure of God, the Glory of God more than anything else–that is how i love others as a servant of Christ!
break me of my desire to please men. break me of vanity. make me humble, meek and unworthy of the praise and approval of men. let me seek your Glory. let my entire life be a pointing to the cross, to your Son and giving him the praise. He is worthy of all Glory, Honor and Praise! magnify your Son!