More Important Than Life Itself: Galatians 1:10
“10) 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.” Galatians‬ ‭1:10
Paul now asks a simple rhetorical question about his motive for aggressively defending the Gospel message; “Am I doing this to please men or God?” Another angle to this question might be; “Is this for personal gain or for the glory of God?” These are both good questions to ask ourselves.
The bottom line is that Paul had nothing to gain and everything to loose by tackling this issue. Philippians 3:1-16 makes this abundantly clear. In fact, he lost everything because of his battle of the pure gospel. In the end, he was martyred for the cause of defending a pure gospel.
Paul makes it clear in Galatians 1:10 that as a bond-servant of Christ, he had no will of his own in this matter. He was not carrying out his own desire, he was bound to the will of God in selfless obedience.
The story of Paul and what he was willing to sacrifice, suffer, and endure for the cause of Christ underlines the importance of the pure gospel. He summarized this conviction in Acts 20:22-24. Let me quote these amazing verses because they clarify Paul’s personal value system and mindset.
“22) And now, behold, bound by the Spirit, I am on my way to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23) except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to me in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me. 23) But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.”
Every time I read these verses I am reminded that ministry and the Christian life is not about me. It is about being faithful to Jesus Christ in the way I preach the Word of God, present the gospel and live out my life before the world. For Paul, being faithful to this charge was more important than life itself.
This may sound trite, but herein is a significant contrast between the early church and the modern church. Their focus was on God, our focus is often on self. They lived and died for the glory of God. We often make decisions based solely on personal benefit without consideration of how our actions are going to affect the cause of the gospel. We are conditioned to look out for number one… and then we see self as number one. Paul lived and died with Jesus Christ as number one. These views are polar opposites.
Paul and the early believers practiced self sacrifice for the cause of Christ and the good of the Body of Christ. They were driven by a heavenly value system. Their primary concern was not “How can I benefit from this?” Rather it was; “How can the cause of Christ benefit from this?”
As life unfolds, you will discover that what you do for self is empty, but what you do for Christ and the advancement of the gospel adds true meaning and value. This is the surpassing value that means more than life itself.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global