You are being fooled by those who twist and change the truth concerning Christ.” These sects would affirm some of the teachings of Christianity, but twist them in order to lead people to follow their own agenda and purposes. The same thing happens in our day. Groups like the Mormons (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints), Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Scientists and even New Age groups affirm some of the teachings of Christianity and even profess to be Christian in nature, but they twist those teachings in such a way that basic Christian beliefs about the Savior, the way to salvation, eternal life and even the Church are grossly distorted. We must be aware that such groups are continually striving to lead people astray, and be knowledgeable enough to know what is right. We need to be strong enough to stand up for our faith and beliefs and be caring enough to approach those who have been deceived by such twisted philosophies so that we can help them get on the right track. That is what Paul was doing for the Christians in Galatia. Out of his love for them, he was showing them that they had gotten off on the wrong track and urging them to get back to the basics and basis of their faith in Jesus.
Question – “Why do people allow others to change their thinking or beliefs?” Sometimes it is because we haven’t studied enough ourselves to really know what we believe. Sometimes it is because we stopped growing in the Lord and becoming stronger in Him. Sometime it is because we have experienced some sort of tragedy where we may perceive that God hasn’t come through for us as we thought He should have. These situations make us vulnerable to false teaching and teachers. Then, sometimes we fall prey to false teaching and teachers because we want to be “people pleasers” (Galatians 1:10).
Second Question – “Have you ever struggled with being a ‘people pleaser’ – and if you have, what causes you to be obsessed with pleasing others?” Many of us (if not most of us) struggle with being people-pleasers. Sometimes we become people-pleasers because when as a child we pleased others (i.e. our parents, friends, or others) we were given attention and affirmed. Sometimes we become people-pleasers because we weren’t given attention or affirmed as children. Whatever the reason, many people will do almost anything or subscribe to almost any belief in order to please others. Paul writes in our text, however, that we are to focus on being “God-pleasers” rather than “people-pleasers.”
Third Question – “How can we become focused on being a ‘God-pleaser’?” First, every day we have to get up and re-surrender our life to the Lord. We have to say, “I am crucified with Christ – and the life which I life today I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20), and we have to purpose to love God more that day than anyone or anything else (Mark 12:30). Second, we have to die to the desires of our flesh and the world around us (James 1:27, 4:4; 1 John 2:15-17). Third, we have to affirm that God’s will for our lives is better than our will and way for our lives (Proverbs 3:5-6). Fourth, we have to purpose to get our significance from the Lord and what He thinks of us, rather than getting our significance from others and what they think of us (Ephesians 1:1-6). Breaking the bondage of being a people-pleaser is a hard thing to do, but it can be done when every day we strive to put the Lord first in our lives (Matthew 6:33). Although it is not wrong to desire to please people, it is wrong when that desire is greater than our desire to love and live for the Lord.
As you pray today: 1) Pray for the Lord to reveal to you any people-pleasing traits or strongholds in your life, and seek His forgiveness; 2) Take the steps mentioned above to re-enthrone the Lord as first and foremost in your life; and 3) Ask the Lord what you can do to please Him today.