Galatians 1:10 NLT
Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.
Galatians 2:11-13 NLT
But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong. When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile Christians, who were not circumcised. But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision. As a result, other Jewish Christians followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.
Paul has this gem of a verse in chapter 1 about being a people pleaser rather than a God pleaser. He doesn’t say much else about it until this example in chapter 2. Not sure if he meant it to be an example but it paints a picture of how things can go when you are trying to please people rather than God.
During this time, Peter is an apostle to the Jews. He is teaching them about Christ. They have accepted him. They also had traditions and customs in place that maybe they were not willing to give up. One of which has to do with eating amongst Gentiles. Peter is in a put in a great teaching situation here. He has an opportunity to lead by example. To show that God’s grace extends to everyone. To show what it means to follow the teaching of Jesus and see people through the eyes of God. Or, he can do what he did. He can try to be the cool Guy. To maintain his status. To not rock the boat. To live in the world. He put aside his own morals. As a result, other people followed suit and he led them astray. They probably looked to him as a spiritual compass and thought whatever he did was fine for them to do as well.
We are put in situation’s like this everyday. The moments people know we are Christians, our actions are scrutiny sized. We can either show poeple the love of God or we can give them an excuse or good reason to think that certain sin is ok and acceptable. It may not be fair to be judged like this but this is the world we live in. I remember being out with some guys the night before I was to be married. I wasn’t driving but the guy who was pulled into the parking lot of a strip club. I had a similar choice as Peter. I could get out, go in with them and try to be “cool” or I could not give in and stand my ground. Thankfully I didn’t give in that night.
It isn’t always extreme as that and I haven’t always stuck to my morals. It could be as simple as obeying traffic laws or downloading pirated music and software. Some areas that I haven’t been the best example in the past.
Lord, thank you for this reminder. I pray that I would be an example of what it means to follow you. I pray that I wouldn’t give people a reason to turn away from Christianity. That I wouldn’t be the cause for someone stumbling.