6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

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.

Galatians 1:6-10

Focus, for a moment, on the last half of verse 10.  If our efforts are directed toward, or if our primary focus is, gaining approval from other people, then we are not serving our Lord as He desires.

As I read this, it seems to me that it can be interpreted in two ways.

  1. Pleasing Man and Serving Christ are two alternatives.  To the extent that one grows, the other diminished in like amount.  Thus, if I am 30% committed to pleasing man, then I can say that I am 70% devoted to Christ.
  2. Serving Christ is an absolute.  Thus, if I have any motivation to please man, then I am not serving Christ.  It is all or nothing.  100% or 0%.

I can make an argument for alternative one, but I feel in my bones that it just can’t be right.  Yes, I know this sounds like a painful, guilt-inducing religious rule, but add in grace and it all makes sense.  Jesus knows we are simply incapable of being 100% totally committed to Him.  It’s our fallen nature.

Christ’s atonement puts us, legally, in right relationship with Him.  Where we fall short, He bridges the gap.  This should not make us more inclined to stay in sin, rather, it should fill us with gratitude and desire to push out the enemy and live in a way that pleases Him.  Not man.