Tuesday, July 15, 2014
I'm reading through Galatians right now and I have come to notice a theme. The Galatians seemed to be people pleasers. I can relate to that. Can you? In fact, in the first chapter, Paul out right calls them people pleasers in verse ten. Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. I would imagine that before his encounter with God, Paul was a people pleaser. He followed the rules and knew the laws inside and out. It was Paul's glorious encounter with God that killed his people pleasing and people persecuting days for good.
People pleasing in a learned behavior. It is easily learned, but difficult to unlearn. Whether it was learned as a coping method or as way to advance in the popularity ladder, people pleasing is not pleasing to God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20) You see, we are no longer bound to a life of people pleasing. We are free from the judgments of others. Besides, we are called to be different then this world, so people are going to think we're weird for that fact alone! The Galatians got hung up on this. Paul had to remind them of their new identity in Christ because they kept resorting back to living like they were living before they knew Christ.
How many of us do the exact same thing?! We get hung up just like the Galatians. While they were trying to please the "important" people of the law, we compromise what we believe to please whom we perceive to be important. However, what the world deems important is incredibly different than what God sees as important. If followers of Christ, keep compromising our identity to make others feel better about themselves, who then will see Christ? Our new identity given to us by the grace of God, is not only for ourselves, it is so others can see that there is a God who hasn't compromised, but has given everything so that they can live in freedom! Eternal freedom. Our people pleasing causes confusion to all those watching us as followers of Christ. Compromising our faith by not saying anything, going with the flow, or biting our tongue as to not offend, is not helpful. It's harmful. It's harmful because Christ gave himself up so that ALL can have a new identity in Him. Those who don't yet know Christ are watching us. They are hearing our words and watching our reactions. Let's point them to Christ with our uncompromising faith!
I say all of this to say, that if we don't define ourselves, others will! Being in the Word daily and claiming God's promises over your life build your identity. You are not a slave to what other people think of you! You know God. You are known by God. The creator of the universe who so intricately placed the beauty in the world, placed that same beauty inside of you. That beauty resonates when you smile and draws others close to God just because Christ is alive in you! Take care not to let the weak and miserable forces of what others think turn you away from your faith. Instead, build a strong uncompromising identity, the very one Christ gave himself for.
Until the whole world hears,