Pleasing Your Base
Mass rallies, interviews on late night TV, magazine covers, social media targeting and an unquenchable thirst for the funding dollars—all this is in full swing. In today’s political climate the campaigning never stops, and I don’t know who has time to actually govern. Whether we like it or not, the constant campaigning is a fact of life, but there is another political reality that all sixteen candidates on the Democratic side and President Trump on the Republican side agree on: A candidate who doesn’t please their base, doesn’t have a chance.
Pleasing the crowd—it’s the way it is in democracy today in the U.S., but what happens when we move from politics to faith? When it comes to God, salvation, and damnation, do we really want to choose someone seeking to please their audience?
When we studied Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, he strongly stressed that he was not one of those people-pleasing preachers who used flattery and rhetorical techniques to appeal to his hearers’ biases to gain their applause and their money, ( 1 Thessalonians 2:4-6). Instead, Paul’s only concern was to be approved by God for telling the truth.
In Galatians the truth of the Gospel is at stake. So, before he goes on to use his own life experience to prove that God, himself, revealed the Gospel to him, Paul refutes the false charge that he’s a people-pleaser.
“Am I now trying to win the approval of people, or of God? Am I trying to please human beings? If I were still trying to please humans, then I would not be the servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10
Paul started this book immediately reminding us that he’s a divinely ordained apostle. No human being gave him this authority. Only Jesus Christ, and God, the Father, who raised Jesus from the dead. Paul is their servant and therefore, his only concern is to please them.
It pleases the majority today to say that each of us as an individual can decide for ourselves our own path to spiritual enlightenment. Make up your own beliefs and spiritual paths. This individualized, open approach pleases the crowd, but before we buy into this sweet acceptance of “you do your thing and I’ll do mine,” think about the fact that this relativistic approach can be deadly when applied in the wrong situation.
The next time you get on a 737 do you want the captain to come down the aisle and ask all the passengers their thoughts and feelings about how to fly? Or if you go in for a heart transplant, do you want your surgeon poling the hospital lobby about how to proceed with the surgery? Whether or not we land safe in heaven with God is far more important than even landing safe or having a successful surgery. Paul’s claiming that he can tell us the truth about being delivered from this present evil age. This is the time when we want to listen to God’s servant, not a people-pleasing, false teacher.
LORD, when it came to cultural issues Paul could bend a lot about food, customs, and motives, but help me to understand that Paul, when it came to the truth of the Gospel, wouldn’t bend and he didn’t hurl out the curse words against those perverting the Gospel for nothing.
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