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Session 1

Who are you trying to please?

Read: Galatians 1

Pleasing dad is something most of us strive for throughout our lives. No matter how complicated our relationship with our parents might be, something in us desires to please our father. But in Galatians 1, Paul, a leader in the church, addresses this need to win our earthly fathers’ approval over our heavenly Father’s approval.

Paul was zealous for the religious traditions of his family. But after an encounter with Jesus, Paul realized there was much more to his faith than what his family passed down. Seeking his family and community’s approval by following their traditions would never give Paul salvation or a right relationship with God. Only faith in Jesus could change Paul’s eternity.

That recognition changed the chain of command in Paul’s life. In Galatians 1:10, Paul writes, “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Serving God — even when it goes against the traditions of our friends and family — is hard. Jesus knows this better than anyone. Wrestling with His impending crucifixion, Jesus prays,  “... My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39).   

Jesus’ trust in His Father produced obedience that resulted in our salvation

Jesus asks God to spare Him the pain that was to come, but ultimately Jesus places His faith in God the Father. At a time when Jesus could have pleased others and made His life less painful by denying God, Jesus’ trust in His Father produced obedience that resulted in our salvation.

We, like Jesus, are God’s children. Every day we face the hard choice about where to put our trust. In those moments, we have to stop and ask the same question Paul did: Am I trying to please God or men?


  • What is one area of your life where you are trying to make things easier by pleasing people?
  • What is one step you can take this week to shift your focus from what other people think and what God thinks?

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