When I first came to the Lord, I was very fortunate to have some very godly men draw me close and teach me. As a matter of fact, one of them eventually became the Pastor of one of my brothers! Small world, huh?
What they taught me is that if I want to please men; if I try to get their attention and appreciation; if I try to divide my loyalties, I will always be working to please someone other than my Lord — and, more importantly, I cannot be a servant of Christ. Yikes!
You see if my heart is motivated by the approval of others — if that is where my mind is, it is impossible to serve Jesus!
Let me give you an example. A few years after the apostle Paul’s conversion, he went to the church in Jerusalem in an attempt to join the disciples there. But “they were afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a disciple” (Acts 9:26). The apostles knew all about Paul’s reputation: “I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. They only heard the report: ‘The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy’” (Galatians 1:22-23).
Well, Barnabas helped the apostles get over their, and they finally welcomed him. But Paul decided to become on itinerant minister among the Gentiles. Indeed, Paul was careful to describe his calling very clearly. He said: “I was not appointed by any group of people or any human authority, but by Jesus Christ himself and God the Father, who raised Jesus from the dead” (Galatians 1:1).
Then he adds emphatically: “I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:11-12, 16). What Paul is saying applies to everyone who wants to have the mind of Christ: “I didn’t have to read books or borrow the methods of men to get what I have. I received my message, my ministry and my anointing on my knees.” In Galatians 1:17, Paul points out, “I did not go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was appointed to this task, but I went into Arabia.” That may sound strange, but he was saying: “I didn’t get my revelation of Christ from the saints in Jerusalem, or the Seminary there. I went into Arabia. I went to the desert to have Christ revealed to me. I spent precious time there, being emptied of myself, hearing and being taught by the Holy Spirit.”
Do you see that? Paul was not some proud, arrogant, lone-ranger preacher. We know he had a servant’s heart. He had emptied himself of selfish ambition and found total satisfaction in Christ. What that means for you, is that when your mind becomes set on pleasing Christ, you will never need the applause and approval of men.
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