Today I started re-reading Galatians. In the very first chapter Paul reiterates one of my favorite ideas within the bible and Christianity. “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:18
I love this idea, and Paul restates it many times in his gospels, because it helps me to keep my life and my work in focus. It is so easy in today’s Twitterverse and social media obsessed world to constantly be posting or doing things for the approval or “likes” of other people.
In my work, your success is often measured by how many copies of your work are sold, or how many industry awards or accolades you collect. Maybe your career success is measured by your job title, or your salary, or the car you drive, how many celebrities you meet in your lifetime. I don’t know your life or your journey, but I do know mine. I know that I wasn’t able to find balance and happiness in my career until I stopped worrying about external accolades and started worrying about eternal ones.
In the second chapter of Galatians Paul confronts one of the original disciples, Peter with his hypocrisy. In the presence of his Jewish brethren, Peter drew back from the Gentile believers and made them feel “less than” because they weren’t following Jewish law. This was a law that God himself had revealed to Peter as no longer necessary. This was a law that Jesus had fulfilled as the ultimate sacrificial lamb, with his death on the cross. Peter forgot what was important…pleasing God and sought to please his fellow man.
If it is possible for a man who know and loved Jesus personally to fall victim to the temptations of sin, how much more difficult is it for us? That is why I love this phrase, this idea from Paul ,to keep our focus on pleasing God. When we are looking to please our fellow man we can never be enough. We can never have enough “likes”, make enough money, have a big enough house, because it is the nature of man to be in competition with one another, to constantly judge and measure and look down upon. Even Peter did it! It is only when seek to make our Lord happy with our thoughts and our actions, that we find peace and happiness. I love my job and the more I focus on using my skills and talents as a writer to focus on God, to pray that his will be done in all aspects of my life, the more contented I am and the less I worry about external accolades.
Think about the places in your own life where you seek external validation. Is there something you can offer up to God. Something that you can let go of and find greater peace?