Summary: Building a good Christian reputation is vitally important, and this is done through careful consideration of the message we speak through our actions.
BUILDING A GOOD RESUME'
How important is a good resume'? Some would say a good resume' is very important in landing a good job. Classes are given and programs written on how to compose a good resume'. Now what does a resume' do? A resume' tells who you are. It tells about your family. It may contain your philosophy on some matter. It gives pertinent background information so that the prospective employer can get to know you better. It will show you work experience. It may tell what hobbies and interests you have. It usually includes references that are work related as well as character references. This way a prospective employer can check you out to see what kind of person you really are. A resume' is very important. The way we build this resume' is through a lifetime of experience. One continues to add to this resume' as they work different places and involve themselves in different activities. We are never finished with our resume' until we die or quit working.
The Christian is also in the process of building a resume' in the spiritual sense. Paul was in the process of building his resume' for God. He tells us in these verses how to build a good resume'. Paul had to appeal to his resume' because the Judaizers were attacking his credentials as an apostle. They accused him of nullifying the Mosaic ceremonies, standards and practices. He was watering down the gospel message to make it more attractive to the Gentiles. He was telling the Gentiles they did not need to obey the Mosaic traditions and ceremonies anymore. What Paul was teaching was accurate, but not in the eyes of those who tried to bind Christians under the yoke of the ceremonial law again. Many of the Galatians were listening to the Judaizers. Some began to doubt the legitimacy of Paul's apostolicity. Some of the Jewish believers still harbored prejudice against the Gentiles which made it easier for them to listen to the Judaizers. Perhaps they were looking for any reason not to accept the Gentiles. They were God's elect. In these verses, Paul presents clear evidence that refutes the accusations made against him.
In light of this, how is it that we build a good resume'?
I. DO NOT BE A PEOPLE PLEASER
Paul made it evident to the Galatians that he was not in this business to please humanity but rather God. There was a time when he tried to please people, but he did not now. The time when he did try to please people was when he persecuted the Christians to please his fellow Jews. This was before he met the risen Lord on the Damascus Road. This was a past part of his life. Jesus created in him a new heart with new desires.
Paul's current goal was to please God. He had tried to do this since his conversion experience on the Damascus Road. Since that episode in his life, he taught and lived a different way. Evidently, he is now accused of being a people pleaser. This was a preposterous accusation. He surrendered his life entirely to Jesus. At the end of this epistle, he will remind his readers: “For I bear on my body the brand-marks of Jesus.” Some of these marks he received in Galatia. It was in the city of Lystra that he was stoned and left for dead. Paul was a martyr for God.
Now people pleasers are not martyrs by nature. People pleasers try their best to escape ridicule and trouble, but Paul did not run from conflict. He did not run from ridicule by his own people. Paul's first purpose was to please God not people. A part of pleasing Christ was rebuking those who taught that salvation comes by works. Such a teaching detracted from the gospel message of grace through Jesus Christ. If Paul has to offend some to stand for the truth of God's word, he would. And he did. He deeply offended those Judaizers who tried to bind the people under the yoke of the law again.
By nature, we want to please others. There are not many people, I suppose, who enjoy conflict with other people. Now to be sure, there are some agitators, but I think they would be in the minority. Most people want others to like them. Most people I believe are striving for unity. They want to be accepted and liked by others. But there comes a point where we must draw the line. If pleasing others means we must contradict or compromise the doctrines of God's word, we must stand for the truth of God's Word. We can be people pleasers to a certain extent- and have to to function in this world, but there is a line we cannot cross lest we offend God, and it is much worse to offend him than other individuals. We must remember that even Jesus himself could not please everyone. In fact, they crucified him because of what he taught.