“Now am I trying to win the favor of men, or of God? Do I seek to please men? If I were still seeking popularity with men, I should not be a bond servant of Christ (the Messiah).” (Galatians 1:10, the Amplified Bible)

“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10, NIV)

I cannot live my life for others, trying to win their approval or please them. I cannot even live so as to try to “win” the approval of God. I have been saved by grace. “For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God; not because of works [not the fulfillment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself.]” (Ephesians 2:8-9, Amplified Bible). I have been saved by grace, and nothing I could ever do can make God love me any more or any less than He already does. . I cannot “win” His approval. I need to just live to serve and please Him. I know He approves of that… I need to live what I know God wants and loves.

Anyway.. I’ve gotten off topic somewhat…

I read this verse (Galatians 1:10) the other day, and it made me stop and think about my life… How much do I really focus on what honors God, and how much do I live for the approval of others? Last night I read a little thought-provoking  piece in Radiant magazine by Tara Leigh Cobble. In this piece, she was talking about her obsession with shoes… One day when she was shopping with a friend and was getting ready to buy some new outfit or shoes, she just all of a sudden said, “This won’t make people love me.” Her friend was like, “What?” and then Tara realized more the truth and the extent of what she’d said.. that she was trying to get people to love her by adapting to try to become more like what they liked. It made me think back to this verse and consider how much I probably do the same thing, even if it’s involuntary sometimes.

In all truthfulness, I would rather just say I never have this problem and go on as if I’d never thought about it, pretending to be unaware of the issue altogether. But.. I think.. no, I know that I struggle with this sometimes too. I like to think that I don’t, but I do.

We all want to be loved and thought of as “uniquely attractive” (as Tara put it, I believe) and beautiful. But if that “love” and sense of beauty and attractiveness has to be bought or earned, then it is not real. The ones who really love us and see us as attractive and beautiful are going to see us that way and love us even without that new outfit or pair of shoes. This kind of love and attraction and beauty ~ the unconditional, unearned, unbought ~ is the only kind worth having or pursuing and is the only real kind anyway.

Ultimately, God’s love is the best and truest love we could ever know, but the piece in Radiant made me stop and consider the way we look at how others view and think of us. It made me think about how I personally respond to that and feed off of it. I think it is getting increasingly easy for us to become obsessed with the way others see us; the world wants to make it easier, because the easier it is, the more we want to spend on trying to fulfill and satisfy our desire to be loved and thought of as beautiful and attractive. We need to be careful not to believe the lies of the world though. We need to find our value in Christ and in His love for us.

“If you race merely for the tributes from others, you will be at the mercy of their expectations.” ~ Scott Tinley