“For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men. I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.” (Gal. 1:10)
Paul asks this question in order to make his defense of his work but what a powerful question he asks of himself. As in all things dealing with the Christian life, there is little room for being in the middle. Christianity in its practice is an either-or proposition. Hot or cold is how Jesus put it. For or against is His word to the disciples. Paul is quick to confess that before he encountered Jesus and His grace he was a men pleaser. How Paul’s ego was boosted by the accolades he received from the Jewish leaders for his persistent persecution of the way.
Seeing Jesus on the road changed all of that. Jesus called him to serve as a minister of the gospel at all cost and it would cost. He was not hired to a salaried position of preacher nor was he a willing volunteer who worked when he was able or so moved. No, Jesus only takes one kind of follower, bond-servants. Doulos is the Greek word used by Paul. Wherever you find it in the Biblical text it will be translated as bondservant or slave.
The person who takes the position of bondservant gives up individual rights. That person now lives for the one whom he serves. He cannot please men for in doing so he would not please his master and as a slave, pleasing his master is his total and only occupation. Not only can he not please men he can’t please himself. He can only please his master.
Whether it’s giving on the street corners or making long prayers those who serve for the approval of men have their reward. If one seeks the praise of others or self-gratification he must forfeit the praise of God. A bondservant cannot serve two masters. He cannot be in two camps. Whether it is preaching, leading singing or teaching the slave of Jesus must engage in these activities solely to please their Lord.
Task for Today: Self-examination time. Why do you do the things you do? Is it to gain the attention of other humans or to please Jesus? Think about your activities this past week. What motivated most of it. The way you dressed, spoke, and the things you participated in, were they for Jesus or the world? Ask yourself, ‘Who’s slave am I?’ ‘Does my life show it?’