Those Who Seem Influential
Galatians 2:6 And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me. (ESV)
Paul had been in Jerusalem for a church meeting. It was in this place that there were discussions regarding Paul’s ministry to the Gentiles. There were those who opposed him. They were legalistic and they were of the circumcision party. To become a Christian, in their eyes, meant more of a conversion to Judaism. They were in strong opposition to the ministry of Paul and this was a problem.
Paul points out that they were influential in their own eyes and believed that what they had to offer the church was of more value than his ministry. They wanted Paul to recognize their influence and authority. They had positions which they believed gave them power. Paul would recognize no authority, except that which was approved by God.
Our world is filled with people who are seemingly influential. We have a choice as to how we will respond to these individuals. We can be swayed and swoon over their positions, or we can continue to seek the face of God.
Human positions mean nothing to God.
God cares much more about authentic lived-out faith.
Those who seem influential will create unnecessary obstacles to faith, including a series of hoops though which one needs to jump. Unfortunately those who are seemingly influential may have positional power and will use that to their advantage. They make the rules about those who are welcomed to their table and often that invitation comes at a price. For Paul’s friend Titus, it meant circumcision. They wanted him to look like them!
What happens when those who seem influential expect everyone else to conform to them? They make themselves the “norm” and to be acceptable you must be as much like them as possible. Success and power are measured by conformity to the norm. Paul soundly rejected this notion and made it clear that God did as well.
We are not to be swayed by those who may seem influential and nor are we to conform to their standards. Paul’s standard was found in the kingdom of God where the barriers had all been destroyed by Christ. We will all encounter those who believe that they are influential and in that moment we are to seek the voice of God. He is to be our influencer and we are to live as a genuine reflection of him.
Lord, may you be the great influencer of my faith. Amen.
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