“They make much of you, but for no good purpose. They want to shut you out, that you may make much of them.” (Gal. 4:17)
Who are the ‘they’? I think it’s pretty obvious that Paul is referring to the false teachers. They couldn’t be nicer to the Galatians. All kinds of nice things are being said and done by the false teachers to win the Galatians over to their side of this argument. But for what purpose? Paul declares that it is not a good one. Their goal is not a positive one for the Galatian Gentiles even though they (the false teachers) are making it sound that way.
In truth, Paul says, they want to silence you, reduce your self-worth, make you unimportant so that they will be the ones in the limelight. The false teachers don’t really care about you Paul is saying even if they make much of you. It’s all about them and them having their way with the gospel. They don’t care about truth or Jesus and they certainly don’t care about Paul.
This entire business is breaking Paul’s heart. He doesn’t care about himself but he does care about the Galatians he has worked so hard on behalf of. Paul is doing his best to approach this from every angle so that the Galatian Christians will see the truth and know the truth and do the truth.
We may be reminded of the warning not to put too much stock in it when men say all manner of good things about us. They may well not be looking out for our best interest and the flattery may be a smoke screen for bringing us down.
Task for Today: Know yourself so that you will not believe lies about yourself. Even if good things have been said and done make sure you give God the glory. Having a big head is not a good thing for a Christian. We who follow Christ live by grace. Never count your deeds only your blessings. Today, take the humble route.