By Robert Halsey Pine
“Am I now seeking human approval, or God’s approval? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still pleasing people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:1-17 NRSV).
St. Paul was concerned that false apostles were distorting the gospel story. He warned the Galatians about things being proclaimed that went against the gospel that he had given them. In justifying his position as an apostle of the Lord, Paul speaks of his acquisition of the gospel directly from Christ Jesus, not from any human. What Paul heard from Jesus requires no human confirmation. He received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
Paul’s strength of faith was remarkable. He tried to please the Lord and no one else. How can we cement our understanding of the gospel? How can we gain the strength of Paul in the certainty of his faith? In this regard how can we love our human neighbors without trying to please them?
It is a matter of our faith and our patience. We must have faith that in committing ourselves to the Lord, we can achieve that personal experience that Paul achieved. His revelation came hard and direct. Ours may take some time, but the more that we can envision it’s coming the sooner it will come.
It is a matter of our spiritual nourishment. How much can we squeeze into each day? We must have the attitude that prayer, meditation and study will be a big part of our day, not if it will be a part of each day. Done correctly this will help us in our natural world activities rather than hurt us. It will calibrate our personal barometer and make all of our activities more fruitful. It will help us please God in what we do and benefit our brothers and sisters. They will be pleased through us not by us.
Father God. I pray that you will give me the strength and discipline to make You the largest part of each of my days. When I am the busiest with my worldly work, I need You the most. You have sent your Son as the way, the truth and the life. Through the Holy Spirit allow me to grow in Christ each day and incorporate the firsthand knowledge that You give me into all that I do. I know that if I please You first, others as well as myself will be blessed. AMEN.
Robert Halsey Pine was born at Newark, Ohio in 1943. He is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extension: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.