Our church is doing a women's bible study on Galatians. So far, we are two weeks in and every week I have been so helped in my daily desire to know more of Christ. Last week we looked at Galatians 1:10-24 and how Paul was living to please God rather than man. As long as I have been a Christian, fear of man has been a struggle for me. And I don't think I am alone. With each season of my life I find new areas where it is a daily battle to live for God rather than my peers. When I was single, I wanted to look like I was perfectly content in my singleness so those around me would praise me for my trust in God. When I first got married, I wanted to be the next Martha Stewart, always poised and ready to bake, clean, and craft at the drop of a hat. When I was pregnant, I wanted to be the glowing, happy pregnant woman who handles pregnancy and labor like a champ. And now that I am a mom of two busy 7 month olds, I want people to look at my skills and praise me for my ability to handle the daily grind of motherhood.
Let's snap back to reality. I often didn't model contentment in my single days. I struggled to maintain a clean and organized home in my early days of wedded bliss (among other things). My pregnancy was hardly a breeze. And about motherhood? Well, let's just say God is in the business of humbling people.
In the midst of my endless quest to look like I have it all together, I often forget that it's not about what others think of me anyway. Paul reminds us in Galatians 1:10 that as blood-bought followers of Christ, we no longer live for the approval of men. Rather, we are servants of Christ. And everyone knows that no one can serve two masters, at least not for long (Matt. 6:24).
As I worked on my bible study lesson last week the word that kept ringing through my mind was "freedom." Of course we know that Christ has set us free from the most important chain that binds us, our sin. But he also has freed us from having to live for other people's praise (or even their criticism). When my mood lives and dies by the approval or disapproval of those around me I am essentially saying that they are more important than God. But even more important, and freeing, is the reality that there is nothing anyone can say about us that will make us anymore sinful in God's eyes, because he sees it all--even things nobody else sees. On the flip side of that, there is nothing we can do that will make us any more righteous in God's eyes either, because Christ righteousness is all we need.
And while I am so far from having this truth down in my heart, I am thankful for the reminder from Galatians that it is for freedom that Christ has set us free (Gal. 5:1). We no longer need to live under the bondage of our own quest for self-glorification, because we have been given something far better--the Glorious One.