Galatians 1:10 – “Still Trying”
Ever tried fitting in to where you never really belonged? As a teenager I was into music… mostly Ozzy Osbourne, Anthrax, Metallica. (don’t judge me!) I was a total metal-head. Yet the people that I tried to hang out with were all into rap. It was the mid 80’s. I have no idea why I wanted to hang out with these people but I did. And they could’ve cared less if I was ever around. I adjusted what I was doing, the music i was listening to, the clothes I was wearing… all to try to impress people who didn’t really matter.
What changed for me was a seemingly innocuous gesture. I was sitting with these people at lunch one morning, feeling unwelcome, feeling insecure… when a guy from another group of guys simply walked over me and said “Hey… why don’t you come sit with us?” I got up, walked away from the table I was at and never looked back. It was a turning point in my chaotic teenage life. I stopped trying to impress that other group of people… I could just be me. And that was freedom.
So who are you trying to impress? I wish I could say, for me, it has always been God… But even the most sincere desires to please God can sometimes be off target. When I went to bible school I learned a lot… I really took to the theology aspect of it. The hypostatic union, Supralapsarianism… yes it’s a thing, go look it up. All this stuff… I thought that God was really impressed with me. And so when I left school and started preaching, I vomited all of this new found knowledge onto the people that God had placed in my path. I thought I was so smart, but the people left scratching their heads. I’d completely wasted their time and worse, I wasted a chance to share God with them in a way that they could understand.
At some point you have to go from trying to impress yourself or others to pleasing God. Not a lot has changed from large phylacteries to even larger bibles, who are we trying to impress? In our verse from Galatians today Paul tells us, “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.” I love the part if I were still trying. This implied that Paul, while trying to ascend in the ranks of religion was really trying at that point to impress man. Are we any different?
1 Thessalonians 2:4 tells us “just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.” Don’t mistake that as a verse that applies to preachers like pastor Josh or any other pastor… that is a command to every person that has placed their faith in Jesus. God has trusted us with a divine purpose; to make sure that his word be preached and his good news survives tomorrow. Let’s search our hearts again today and challenge what our motives for preaching that good news really is. To please God? Or are we still trying to impress someone else.
Father, I want nothing that man has to offer. Help me to flee from the desire to impress anyone around me but focus completely on You and doing what pleases you with my words and my life. Amen.