Please open your Bible to the place where it is written: “Do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men I should not be the servant of Jesus Christ.” This text in Galatians 1:10 presents part of the definition of being a servant of Jesus Christ.
The text speaks clearly: if one seeks to please men, then one is not a servant of Jesus Christ. There is no twisted mystery in the words. The contrapositive is: if one is a servant of Jesus Christ, then one does not seek to please men. The truths are equivalent, precisely.
We seek to please men because we love the praise of men more than the praise of God, being lovers of pleasures more than a lover of God. (2Ti 3:4) We love what men give, what we might not otherwise get from God, and so we cater to the pleasure and will of men instead of to the pleasure and will of God.
Do we seek to please men? Are we motivated in word and deed by whether others approve or not? Does the mere fact that others are happy with us tend to gladness and satisfaction in our hearts? Does the fact that those about us are angry and disappointed with us bring us sorrow, turmoil, and heaviness? When others respect and admire us, do we rejoice in this? When others despise us, are we deeply troubled? This was not Christ. This is not Christ.
Are we solely motivated by the will and good pleasure of the eternal God? Is it true that we are only concerned with God’s pleasure? in every matter? that only God’s approval is significant to us? Are we dead to the world? Crucified unto it? Is the world crucified unto us? Are we dead to our own will and pleasure? Are we alive unto God? Are you willing and anxious to please God if some action will anger all but Him? Would we much rather please God than ourselves? This was Christ. This is Christ: “I do always those things that please Him.” (Jn 8:29)
Is it true that those things that are highly esteemed among men are an abomination in the sight of God? Is it true that if any man love the world, then the love of the Father is not in him? Yes. It is true.
Is it also true that self-love is so commonplace today that it is hardly recognized? “For all seek their own, not the things that are Jesus Christ’s.” (Php 2:21) So it was in the early days, so it is today. So few are the servants of Jesus Christ today, in any day.
Let us be honest with ourselves. Are we servants of Jesus Christ? Do we love our flesh, and so are driven by it? Do we find much of our carnal pleasure in those about us? Do we fear the wrath of man, and love his praise and recognition? Do we consistently choose to please ourselves, and are mostly pleased when others are pleased with us? Are we are deeply moved when others approve of us, or disapprove, when they smile or glare, when they promote, or threaten? When they caress, do we swoon; when they punish, do we cower? Are we not well trained by the enemy of God? The fear of man has brought the snare, and we are taken in it.
We pretend God likes it this way, that we are serving Him, that He likes us as we are, and understands us, and wants us happy. He takes care of us and answers some of our prayers, sure, yet we are confused, disoriented, hurt, restless, unhappy. Truly, our life is ticking away in failure, wasted; all we have stored in the heavenlies is wood, hay, stubble. We are complacent, cold, wanton. We have loved our life until now, and we have lost it until now.
All is spiritually dark. The churches are loud and empty, clouds without water, yet we keep going back to them for nourishment instead of to the Fountain of living water. We do not know the voice of God for ourselves, we do not know His Word and Revelation, and we do not care enough to seek Him earnestly. We are not in hot pursuit of God, or holiness, or truth. We are dull and lazy in spirit. We wake to emptiness, purposelessness, and the measly clutter of our stuff. The cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches have sprung up and choked us, and we are unfruitful. It will all be burned up soon. And we are content to spend another day just like the last, and then another, and so we do, day after day. Oh, how WRETCHED we are!
Who are we? When we stand naked in the mirror and look into our own eyes, who do we see? We see ourselves, as we are, with no props or crutches, nothing to hide behind: a soul dwelling in a piece of dust, a carcass. The breath, the bodily life that ebbs in our bosom, it is a vapor that is vanishing right in front of us.
And we are a slave to this? We are a slave to this! And those we fear, they are no different! Why do we serve this instead of the living God? Do we really think He understands?
Be not deceived friend. God does not understand us. Neither do we understand ourselves. What we are doing makes absolutely no sense at all. It is nonsense in its purest form. God is not mocked: whatever we sow, that is what we shall also reap. If we keep on sowing to our flesh, we will of the flesh reap corruption. If we sow to the Spirit we shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. (Ga 6:7-8) It makes no sense that we have spent all these years sowing to our flesh. It is insane. Our slavery to the fear of man, to the pleasure of man, to our own selves… this must stop. We must stop. We must stop now.
Be drastic. Subtlety does not break the deep bonds of slavery. It takes full-scale war. Be intense. Be afflicted and mourn and weep. Let our laughter be turned to mourning and our joy to heaviness. Fast. Let us humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord. Offer up our whole entire wretched selves to God, back to God.
Let us put ourselves back up on the altar where we belong. Lock, stock, and barrel, put that old flesh, these old carcasses of ours, back up on the cross, and nail them there to stay. Now, take everything we ever wanted in this world, and nail it to the cross as well. Our children, our spouse, our career, our reputation, our health, our wit, our intelligence, our knowledge, our wealth, our home, and all of our possessions… nail them fast… one by one… to stay.
Be drastic, friend … drastic as the devil, who leaves no room for righteousness. Be as drastic as God, Who in the person of Jesus Christ became poor for us, was despised for us and rejected for us and hated for us, Who was wounded fsor u, Who suffered deeply to redeem us, and Who died for us. Half-heartedness is useless; lukewarmness is a tasteless joke. No one can serve two masters. (Mt 6:24) We cannot serve God and ourselves; we cannot serve God and our spouse, or God and mammon, or God and others, or God and family, or God and work, or God and anything. A double minded soul is unstable in every way. (Ja 1:8) If our eye is single and focused our whole body will be filled with light, but if our eye is evil and lazy and wanton, our whole body will be filled with darkness. (Mt 6:22-23) Let us eave no room for sin, no room for self … and no room for anybody else’s self. Let us focus on God and let the world blur.
We are now a living sacrifice. We are not afraid to die, but ready and willing to die… body and soul. We are already dead … but ever alive in the Spirit. We are counted as a sheep for the slaughter. We will die today. We will die again tomorrow. We will die daily. (1Co 15:31)
Forasmuch then as Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, let us arm ourselves likewise with the same mind, for he that has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin. (1Pe 4:1-2) When we have a mind to suffer according to the will of God, we find we are no longer panting after sin, coddling our flesh, and are free from the fear of men. When we do suffer according to the will of God, we commit the keeping of our souls to Him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator. (1Pe 4:19) Suffer the loss of all things, and count it all as nothing more than sewage, that we may win Christ and be found in Him. (Php 3:9)
Remember what we deserve. We have no rights. We have no claim upon this world or anything in it. We are a candle to be lit, a precious metal for the purifying furnace.
Now we are ready to live, ready for God to live in us, ready to live for God. We are now servants of Jesus Christ.