Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
For some time, different organizations have been watching, tracking, and analyzing the approval rating of political and other public figures. People are always looking to improve their approval ratings. It seems like that no one just looks at what’s the right thing to do, but they look at doing what’s going to move their approval ratings up.
In today’s terms, people say they waffle. They say one thing today, and then another thing tomorrow. Changing your mind is somehow seen as weakness today. It doesn’t matter whether they were right or wrong, or if new information has come to light. To change you mind, to change your approach in the political world is about as bad as it can get.
Some people said the same thing about the Apostle Paul. He openly talks about purposefully becoming like a Jew, or those under the law, or those who have no law, or those who are weak.
Paul isn’t changing his mind or message about the gospel of Jesus. But he is changing his method. The central truths remain the same. Jesus, God the Son, came to earth to die for sinners. But he is willing to change his approach, how he communicates and practically lives out the truth in front of a watching world.
Paul’s showing something called Godly Flexibility. This is where God chooses to meet people where they are, in a way that they can understand without any changing or preparation on their part. And why does he do this?
How great is the goodness you have stored up for those who fear you. You lavish it on those who come to you for protection, blessing them before the watching world.
Psalm 31:19 NLT
I hope you caught that phrase, a watching world. Yes, the world is watching. They are paying attention to you; what you say, what you do. They are also looking at your attitude and reaction to both failure and success, to pain and pleasure.
And what’s Paul’s motivation?
Approval of God – With his words, thoughts, actions, and attitudes, Paul is currently and actively doing anything and everything to do everything to the glory of God. Paul’s willing to set aside his own ideas about what to do, or his definition of what success is, and follow what God says to do and say with joy.
Pleasing Servant of Christ – Paul decided to please Christ in the past, and that decision continues to have actions today. And how does that decision work its way out in daily life? He becomes a servant. He does what God wants above everything else. His focus is to follow God with his whole heart, soul, strength, and mind.
It’s like that old
I have decided to follow Jesus;
Though none go with me, I still will follow;
The world behind me, the cross before me;
No turning back, no turning back.
When Paul says that he wants to persuade people, it’s not for them to follow like mindless robots. No, God wants to win people over so they become friendly with God, his purposes, and his people.
We were made to please God. We were made to serve God. We were made to worship God. We were made for God. We’re not there on our own. We have to change our minds to get there.
Those who never change their mind, never change anything
God wants us to change our minds about him. How are you doing on that journey? Are there things about God that you can now agree with? What areas about God that drive you up the wall so much that you just want to scream?
God welcomes us to that journey with him. Not that our approval ratings go up, but that God’s approval rating in us does.
How do you stop yourself from trying to please people?
Describe a time that you’ve changed your mind.
How are you changing your mind about God?