In the Old Testament, God traveled with the Israelites in different forms to protect them. The Israelites knew that their God was fighting for them because they could physically see God going before them and behind them.
Picture this: a hot summer day, beads of sweat on your forehead, with a beautiful view of Table Rock Lake before you. There’s a rope swing in your hands, and with one jump you can launch yourself into a refreshing lake of water. Would it make sense to jump but continue holding onto the rope? Of course not! That would send you sailing right back into the shoreline.
We know that a rope swing can propel us into the water if we let go at the right time, but it can be harder to know when to let go of our desire to please others. There can be value in the opinions of others, but similar to a rope swing, there is a right time to let go. Our friends and superiors keep us accountable, remind us of truths about ourselves when we forget, and challenge us to look more like Jesus. However, at a certain point, we will get dragged down by constantly looking to their approval or guidance if we cling to it.
There’s a feeling of freedom when we let go of a rope swing and dive into refreshing water. This is much like our relationship with Jesus. When we let go of a deep need to please others, we launch into a refreshing freedom of living for One.
“For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.”
Paul reminds the Galatians in this letter that we live and serve Christ alone. At Kamp, we like to refer to this as an “I’m Third” mindset: Christ First, Others Second, and I’m Third. Because Christ comes first, his opinion of us should be taken into the greatest consideration. By trying to please our peers or superiors, we abandon the freedom of a relationship with God that lives only for Him. Life with Jesus means grace, peace, joy, and purpose. When we serve Him only, we are free of being hindered by the opinions of others, knowing that others cannot save us and fill us like He can!
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.”
Do you find yourself constantly striving for the approval of your parents, your boss, or your followers on social media? The danger of dependence on others’ opinions is that these opinions make a shaky foundation that can change with the wind. This passage from Galatians emphasizes that Christ’s death was for our freedom, and when we continue to cling to the approval of others we portray that we are better without His sacrificial gift. He gives abundant purpose, grace, and love to us, and we get to experience this fully by living for Christ alone!
So, let’s stack hands and agree to start letting go of our grip on the approval of others so that we can soar into the freedom that is found in living for One. This may not always be easy, but we can be confident that God will help us every day as we draw near to Him!