“Does this sound as if I am trying to win human approval? No indeed! What I want is God’s approval!”
Gal 1:10 GNB
Some people are very conscious of the image they portray. They are always wondering how they are coming across. They go to great lengths to ensure that they create a good impression on the people whose approval and popularity they seek.
The people in Galatia had accused Paul of trying to be a crowd-pleaser. He was a powerful thinker and no doubt a powerful preacher who had the ability to persuade his audiences and to convince them of the wisdom of believing in Christ. There were many wandering teachers, philosophers and speakers, just as today we have plenty of “motivational speakers”. When Paul preached to his mainly Jewish audiences he may have sounded to strictly orthodox Jews that he was making life too easy. He was saying that the Jewish law, based as it was on the Ten Commandments, was no longer binding on people who gave their lives to Christ. Now it was Christ’s law of love they were accepting as their rule of life. Such a change probably sounded soft and silly to some. But Paul was obeying God who had given him this new gospel. No, he was not seeking the approval of humans. He was seeking God’s approval only.
It is possible today for teachers and preachers to skew the gospel they are called to proclaim and teach in order to be popular with their congregations. Worship can quickly deteriorate into shallow entertainment in the hands of a preacher who enjoys the laughter that his humour can elicit from his people. But the criterion is not “Did it make them laugh?”, but rather “Did it point them to Christ?”
Lord, keep ministers of the gospel ever true to their calling.