READ : Galatians 1:10-24
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. (v. 10 NIV)
One of the first things I learned when I became a pastor is that you can’t please everybody. Moreover, trying to please everyone is usually not in the church’s best interest. But it takes courage to stand up for the truth, because that’s how we make enemies.
Paul struggled with this, too. But he knew that pleasing God is more important than pleasing people. Paul was under great pressure from those who wanted to make the Christian faith a part of Judaism (e.g., by enforcing dietary laws and requiring circumcision). As much as Paul wanted peace in the church, he could not tolerate a perversion of the gospel truth that salvation comes by faith in Jesus Christ – plus nothing!
Martin Luther took a similar stand. After rediscovering the gospel of salvation by grace alone through faith alone, Luther was summoned by the authorities to recant his teachings. Luther’s famous reply was: “I cannot and I will not retract anything . . . Here I stand, may God help me. Amen.” Neither Martin Luther nor the apostle Paul were people pleasers. And their gift to us was a gospel that remains pure – and that can save!
Father, help me to have the courage to stand alone on the Word of God, the B-I-B-L-E. Amen.