“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.” ~ Galatians 1:10 ESV
In my day to day, who am I seeking the approval of?
I understand that in order to find true peace, that sought out approval should be laid at the feet of God. This is where my peace will be claimed; however, often I fail and look to my immediate surroundings. I stubbornly believe that what ever approval I gain, quickly or just outside my own thinking, that I am then justified in my flaw or that there is some merit and this I’m capable of moving forward without realizing that that only gets me falling down later.
When I reflect on this, I consider things like Facebook, Instagram or even the concept of putting up this blog. What are my reasons for posting that status, that photo or even my thoughts regarding this book? Is it for a sort of gratification from friends, family and even strangers?
I want to say no; but I know a small part of me desires a positive reaction from others.
The Truth is that in order for me to be totally satisfied by my posting, it needs to be done to honor God and when it stops there, peace shall come.
“And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.” ~ Galatians 1:14-17 ESV
How set in our ways we can become…
How we can believe that tradition is greater that understanding sometimes…
Paul was an amazing person. He is a man who demanded the deaths of those who followed Christ and turned around to a point where he praised the very God he attempted to “attack”. Not only does Paul’s relationship with Christ model how Grace truly functions, his teaching prove God’s power among the hearts of man. Love.
He mentioned how he did not “immediately consult with anyone” after his conversion. I wonder why this is exactly and I plan on researching a bit more into his actions. It does make me consider how it is taught to pause, to listen, and then act on what we are being tasked.
“Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” ~ James 1:21 ESV
I wonder if this was the process of what Paul was working through.
“They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they glorified God because of me.” ~ Galatians 1:23-24 ESV
Think about this. Think about if someone from ISIS, someone who vehemently sought out his enemies, Christians, to put them down like rodents in an old apartment building.
He persecuted and killed them all because he thought they were blaspheming the name of his God (ironically the source being the same God), and then he has a spiritual conversion like no other. This killer. This top ranking prosecutor and Commander is converted and starts talking about Jesus in a way that many of us fail to recognize and he begins to teach, to speak and to actively write lessons to the body of Christ.
How would we react today?
How many of us would celebrate such a turnaround from this individual and not constantly second guess his motives? His intention? His honesty? How many of us would rejoice? How many of us would recognize the awesome power that God has bestowed upon us; how He is capable of turning all things to good…
It’s easy to say that “I would”, but the truth is we are in such a state in our society that we are bred to believe nothing. Fake news. False truths. Empty thank-yous and so on. I honestly can say that the world has been successful in derailing much of what truth is attempting to tell us. The venom that drips from the mouths of those who misunderstand what Love I personally have found. How one is automatically swept into the masses of the conflicted, the confused and the, oh so very, broken… We all have our challenges to work through and to correct. We all have our differences to figure out and work on so that we can truly be people of Christ, people, who like Christ, loves everyone here around us.
This includes those we don’t particularly like…
Paul takes a special place in my heart because I feel as if I can relate to him. No. I wasn’t out in the world killing Christians but I was actively trying to work them off of their pedestal of Faith which, in a way, is far worse. I wasn’t killing the body but attempting to damn the spirit. How I spoke to believers and, now with such sorrow, how I would spout to current non-believers, weakening a Faith that could bud… it is truly something of my past self I have asked forgiveness for and I know I have received it. Now I feel God has asked me to share my heart.
I’m not working out some sort of penance here. Honestly, it’s something on my heart that I feel God is telling me to complete. I honestly hope that this helps someone else. This is my goal.
*Please see my intro to Galatians for my resources.