Peer pressure is part of everyday life. Sometimes we base our decisions on what other people will think or say rather than on our convictions and on what will please God. We’re worried that we’ll be judged or made fun of.
The apostle Paul experienced his fair share of peer pressure. Some Jewish Christians believed that Gentiles should be circumcised to be truly saved (Gal. 1:7; see 6:12-15). However, Paul stood his ground. He continued to preach that salvation is by grace through faith alone; no further works are required. And for that he was accused of being a self-appointed apostle. They further asserted that his version of the gospel had never received the apostles’ approval (2:1-10).
Despite the pressure, Paul was very clear about whom he served—Christ. God’s approval mattered most, not man’s. He made it his goal not to win the approval of people, but of God (1:10).
Similarly, we are Christ’s servants. We serve God whether people honor or despise us, whether they slander or praise us. One day “each of us will give an account of ourselves to God” (Rom. 14:12). That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t consider what people think or say, but ultimately, we make pleasing God our main concern. We want to hear our Savior say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matt. 25:23).
Dear Lord, no matter what others may say or do, give me the courage to be faithful to You today.
Keep following Jesus.
Because the risen Christ called Paul to be an apostle on the Damascus Road (Acts 9:1-18; 22:1-15; 26:9-18), Paul acknowledges that his apostleship was different from the original 12 apostles (Gal. 1:11-17), but it was clearly accepted by them (1:18; 2:7-10). Because Christianity was birthed in Judaism, adhering to the Mosaic law became an issue as more Gentiles became believers. The Judaizers taught that Christians must follow Jewish laws and practices in order to be saved. Paul wrote this letter to counter and condemn this false teaching (vv. 8-9), affirming that salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, not by observing the law (Gal. 2:16,20-21; 3:11,24).