There have been multiple occasions in my spiritual walk, that I have realized that I have begun to seek the approval of man more than the approval of God. It’s such an easy trap to fall into. The approval of God is difficult to see here on earth. There will be a day when we will get to see God and His ways clearly.
“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”
1 Cor. 13:12 (Emphasis added)
Until that day, I suspect that we will all struggle with the desire to have the approval of man. Who doesn’t want to be liked, accepted, and given commendation? But when we allow man’s approval to be more important than God’s approval, we fall into sin. It’s idolatry, really! We are putting people above God — worshiping the wrong thing. And as Paul says, if we are serving man, then we can’t be serving Christ.
Jesus spoke of it in relation to money. “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” (Matthew 6:24)
If I am mastered by the people around me, then I cannot be mastered by the only good, loving Master. The only Master who offers complete freedom to be what He created me to be.
I love how John Gill put it in his exposition of Galatians 1:10:
for to please men, and be a servant of Christ, are things inconsistent, incompatible, and impracticable; no man pleaser can be a true faithful servant of Christ, or deserve the name of one
I cannot be truly faithful in my service to Christ if I’m too busy trying to please men. Men don’t always have Kingdom purposes in mind. We’re so prideful and self-centered that we usually have our own purposes in mind! And when I’m trying to please the men that are mostly thinking of themselves, it’s often because I’m thinking of myself. I’m seeking personal glory. When I am seeking the glory of God, I am only concerned in pleasing people, so far as it edifies them and glorifies God!
Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.
1 Corinthians 10:31-33
So as we go about the days, it is my prayer that we would be seeking the advantage of others. That they may be saved and built up and that God may be glorified! That we would not be slaves to receiving approval from those around us, but that our hearts would be free to fully worship the only One worthy of our praise! And in so doing that our words, attitudes, and actions would please Him. Would bring Him great glory and honor. And would be light to the fallen world.