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.
It is so easy to seek the approval of men. We all do it, it is very much part of us, we were born with this capacity to seek approval.
Why? Because we all feel the need to be accepted, the need to belong and to find a community that we can call home.
When this sense of belonging is taking away from us and when we are excluded from the community we suffer. The fear of rejection is a very strong emotion, we all experience this in our lives, leaving scars in our souls that sometimes are difficult to heal. We become either insensitive to hurt or we get used to them. The reality is we all have been rejected, we all seek approval, we all want to be accepted.
I wonder if Paul ever felt the need to be accepted, to seek the approval of men. I think he did, in fact in the following verses of this letter we will know why. Paul, was named Saul of Tarsus and he developed a strong reputation, a reputation that needed to be kept, this is a man who was known for his strong character, intellect, fiercely passionate, holding tight to his beliefs. You don’t become the most fearful enemy of the early church if the collective system does not approve of you. It would have been so tempting for Paul to go back to his old Saul of Tarsus, seeking the approval of the early church leaders.
Why didn’t Paul to go the way of pleasing men, approval and seeking recognition? The answer is: “the Gospel”. He met the Messiah, he had an encounter with the man of Grace and it is through this powerful encounter, that lasted three days, he became Paul. A son of God totally accepted by the Lord and fully empowered with the Spirit of the Living God.
In this encounter, he realised that the only price worth paying was this: ” I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”