Don't seek praise
"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 1:10
Isn’t it true that we all want to be liked? In today’s hyperconnected world, we’re all looking for that notification that tells us someone liked our post. We love the affirmation of a comment on a photo. We get a rush when we receive a complimentary text from a friend.
It feels good to feel important. We like being liked. It’s how we’re wired. But here’s what I want to share with you today. If we want to stay in God’s favor, never be seduced by human praise, influence, or power.
I started out as a youth pastor preaching to 16 high school kids when I was 27 years old. (I think three of the 16 wanted to be there!) Today, I’m blessed to be pastoring a church that welcomes thousands of people through its doors every weekend. Whether I’m speaking to 16 high school kids or an auditorium of several thousand, it doesn’t matter. I’m only looking to please one Person.
In Galatians 1:10 Paul says, “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.” What Paul is saying is this: If I’m trying to please a particular person or group of people, I'm not doing my job. My goal is to please God, and God alone. That's the calling we have as Christians no matter what context we’re in.
Still, it feels good to be liked; to have recognition. And if we’re not careful, seeking human praise can come hand in hand with abuse of power. Abraham Lincoln said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
The Church isn’t immune to this problem. I’ve personally prayed for people in our church who are recovering from past hurts from other churches. Power can be wielded in an ungodly way, causing pain for people who are seeking a place of safety, recovery or growth.
My heart’s desire is to stand with the victims of abuse of power, whether it’s from inside or outside the church. My prayer is that I pastor them well and that the church I pastor is a place people find refuge, recovery, and restoration. And my prayer for you is whatever stage of life or platform you find yourself in, you're not seduced by human praise, influence, or power.