The Apostle Paul carried a heavy burden within his heart and the scars that covered his body proved it. In fact, the burden for the truth was so great upon this man’s heart that it eventually carried him to his death, where he was beheaded in Rome for refusing to yield to anything that was not of the truth of God. Here Paul in writing to the Galatians to refute a corruption in the gospel of Christ explains to us why he was so unwilling to yield to the pressures of the leaven of false doctrine. He proclaims that it is his desire to please God rather than men. Paul then goes on to state that he had to withstand even Peter himself (who was given the ministry of apostleship to the Jews) when it came to pleasing God. Even his good friend and mentor Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy (Galatians 2:11-14).
Paul had made a decision and commitment to be a bondservant of Christ. The word for bondservant in the Greek there is “δοῦλος (doulos)” and means in this context “one who gives himself up to another’s will those whose service is used by Christ in extending and advancing his cause among men” (Blue Letter Bible. 2014.). A doulos is someone who has chosen to make themselves into a slave for Christ, and in doing so they must choose to please their master. In the Old Testament after seven years of servitude a Jewish slave was to be set free. If the slave out of his own free will decided that they loved their master and wanted to continue to serve him then the master would take that slave and put their ear up to a doorpost and nail their ear to the post. From then on the slave would wear an earring to symbolize that they were no normal slave, but instead had become part of the family as a bond slave (The New Manners and Customs of Bible Times. 2005).
There are many times that we can become tempted to please men rather than God in this earthly pilgrimage. In fact, opposition has been promised to us by Christ Himself (Matthew 5:10-12). The other Apostles also stated this to the Pharisees in the book of Acts where they proclaimed “…We ought to obey God rather than men”. Their defiance of the council resulted in a beating, but surprisingly they responded by rejoicing that they had been counted worthy enough to suffer shame for the name of Christ Jesus and continued to preach and teach Jesus as Messiah (Acts 5:29-42).
Do not seek to please men. Seek to please the Lord. Stand fast (Gal. 5:1). Choose to be a bond servant of Christ, and in so doing know you will be accountable to Him alone on judgment day.
The Holy Bible, New King James Version.
Blue Letter Bible, retrieved from http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1401&t=NKJV/
Gower. 2005. The New Manners and Customs of Bible Times. Chicago, Illinois: The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago.