Sermon Recap - Galatians 1:10

Posted on January 20, 2015.

Galatians 1:10, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Have you heard it said, “He who lives by the approval of others will die by the absence of the same.” – This is what we are talking about this morning.

Are you a people pleaser?

The Apostle Paul did a complete 180o when he was saved.  His life before conversion was completely about rising through the ranks to be top dog.  The way you do that is work really hard and please people.

His life after conversion was completely about living a life that was pleasing to God and about seeing Jesus get all the glory and honor.

What Is People Pleasing?

People-pleasing in its simplest form is an attempt to keep people happy, impressed, and liking us.

Paul spends a good amount of time talking about freedom in the second half of his letter.  Freedom is not found in people pleasing.

Look at the end of verse 10.

  • (using the word “still”) Do you see how Paul characterizes his former life as pleasing-people.
  • The problem is that you can’t be serving Christ if you are a people pleaser.

People-pleasing is the reason some failed to believe in Jesus.

  • John 12:42-43

The root problem of people pleasing is idolatry.  People pleasers make idols of other people and thus crave their approval as though it were the bread of life. 

We need to aspire to something much more than being liked and having a good reputation.  We need to aspire to being faithful.

What Is God Pleasing?

Being a God-pleaser is simply making the choice that in every situation you will honor the Lord despite the consequences that may come from the hand of people.  It is the desire for God’s approval over man’s approval.

The central verse that all God-pleasers need to memorize is this…

  • 2 Corinthians 5:9, “So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.”

The pleasure of God is a powerful thing.  To feel God’s pleasure and approval of you is a great joy.

I love the movie “Chariots of Fire”

Eric Liddell was a phenomenal runner.  His family were missionaries in China, and Eric was in England for college.  He was wrestling over the decision to return to China as a missionary or stay in England and train for the 1924 Olympic games in Paris.  His sister was pressuring him to go to China.

He felt the best thing was to please God, and at that time it meant not doing what his sister wanted.

Eric Liddell said this to his sister in their conversation, “I believe God made me for a purpose.  God made me fast, and when I run I feel his pleasure.  To win is to honor God.”

This is the way to live.  When we please God we feel his pleasure in return.  Amazing.

An Important Clarification

How do we please God without running over everybody?  The lesson to learn from verse 10 is not that the more people you can displease the more spiritual you are.

At a certain level we must accommodate people and seek to please people.  Pleasing God ≠being a jerk. It was never Paul’s aim to alienate people.  In fact, listen to these verses…

  • 1 Corinthians 10:31-33, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.”
  • Romans 15:2, “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.”

Let me see if I can put it together for us.

  1. It is good to please people provided that pleasing them is a means to their salvation and their edification and to God’s glory,
  2. but when pleasing people is at odds with pleasing God then we must choose to please God.

The most thrilling fruit of living a life to please God is this: The absoluteness of Christ’s lordship is gloriously liberating.

It frees you from having to worry about pleasing one person here and another person there. It brings unity and integrity to your life. When you live to please only one person, everything you do is integrated because it relates to that one person. Shall I go to this movie? Read this book? Make this purchase? Take this job? Go out on this date? Marry this person? What a freeing thing it is to know that there is one person who is to be pleased in every decision of life—Jesus. Sometimes pleasing him will please others. Sometimes it won’t, and that will hurt. But the deep joy of a single-minded life is worth it all.


It is far better to be a slave of Christ than to be enslaved to human opinions.