“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.” — Galatians 1:10
I worked at a Christian camp this summer, a place filled with loving and sacrificial service within a community of believers. Despite this, I still found myself to be spiritually exhausted on occasion. Why? Was it because I wasn’t being poured into as much as I was pouring out? No, I was being poured into via wisdom, encouragement and accountability. Was it because the service required of me to pour into campers was too difficult to bear? Surely not. It was tiring but so rewarding.
My spiritual exhaustion boiled down to my heart behind my service being twisted away from the pure motive Christ calls us to. I would find myself searching for recognition and praise from others as I was striving for the Lord. I was hoping people would notice my good works because I craved to be held in high regard. I was living in a sinful mindset that no one could see, and it was exhausting.
Thankfully, this is a sin issue I’ve been able to realize through the Holy Spirit’s conviction. I would catch myself. I would do a heart check for everything, and it allowed me to better pursue Christ through my good works and service. Paul lays this out clearly and bluntly by stating that a people pleaser is the direct opposite of a servant of Christ.
This same idea can be found in sports. I have experienced let down and exhaustion after repeatedly competing to gain recognition. As soon as my heart behind competing left the pure motives of joy for the game and using the gifts God gave me to glorify Him, I would suffer exhaustion. This was felt emotionally through not receiving desired affirmation and physically through tireless workouts to get attention. When I would compete with the pure motives I mentioned, it was much more fulfilling. My heart behind my actions was fixed on Christ instead of myself, who was greedy for praise.
My challenge to you all, as well as myself, is to examine our hearts behind what we do. Scripture is clear that our outward appearance is fleeting, and that God looks at the heart. This is laid out clearly in the 1 Samuel 16 when Samuel is anointing the next king of Israel.
In all works, are we looking to please people or Christ? Where are we looking for fulfillment? Seeking praise from people will always let us down and it never satisfies. A servant of Christ must kill the desire for recognition as they strive for the Lord.
— Luke Heaton
If you would like to submit a reader devotional, please email all submissions to email@example.com.