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.
We are constantly bombarded with evidence of man's approval or disapproval of everything. The 24 hour news outlets let us know of the President's approval rating almost hourly...which I wonder about because no one ever asked me. Our social media platforms count "likes" and "followers". Even this blog platform allows me to see just how many people are clicking on this blog each time I post. I will admit a sense of insecurity when those click counts don't increase and a sense of pride when they grow at rapid pace.
If we are honest, we like to be liked. No one wants to walk around knowing no one cares about them or dislikes what they have to say. We want to be wanted. There is, however, a point when our need and desire to be included becomes unhealthy. When we place more importance on the approval of others above the approval of God we are bound to constantly feel empty and unloved and "not enough".
Paul wrote today's verse to the Galatians as he was setting about his mission to share the Gospel with the known world. He was on a God given mission to change the world and knew that if he went about that mission by seeking the approval of his fellow sinful man, he'd fail. Paul's message was often found to be offensive and was met with disapproval in many communities but he didn't let that stop him. Where would we be today if Paul had been a people pleaser?
You may not be an evangelist, but you have been given certain responsibilities and influence in your day to day life. You might be a parent who has children to raise, a nurse with patients to care for, a teacher with students to teach or a manager with people to lead. Every place you go is a place to share love, peace, and hope. I guarantee you will not sow God's seeds if you are looking over your shoulder and are wringing your hands with desire to be liked.
The fact is, God has chosen us, warts and all. The moment He gave his Son on the cross, God said to all of us, "I am yours and you are mine." 1 John 4:19 says, "We love because God first loved us." What if we all interacted with one another daily from this starting point? Wouldn't we be less likely to scan eyes for approval and keep count of our followers? Wouldn't we be more confident and able to give love more freely without worry? We would be empowered to carry out our God given missions knowing that the only One who matters loves us with an everlasting love. Everlasting does not depend on our success or failures, everlasting depends on the fact that God and His love for us never changes.