If your heart is motivated by the approval of others and this influences the way you live, your loyalties are divided. You will always be striving to please someone other than Jesus.
A few years after the apostle Paul was converted, he went to the church in Jerusalem to try to join the disciples there. “But they were all afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a disciple” (Acts 9:26).
The apostles knew Paul’s reputation as a persecutor. The churches in Judea had heard only that, “He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith which he once tried to destroy” (Galatians 1:23). But Barnabas helped the apostles get over their fear of Paul and they offered him fellowship. Paul decided to itinerate among the Gentiles and he was careful to describe his calling very clearly, explaining that it came “not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead” (Galatians 1:1).
Then Paul added emphatically, “I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ. . . . I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood” (Galatians 1:11-12, 16).
What Paul is saying here applies to all who desire to have the mind of Christ: “I didn’t have to read books or borrow men’s methods to get what I have. I received my message, my ministry and my anointing on my knees.
“These things came while I was shut in with the Lord, interceding and fasting. Any revelation of Christ I have comes from the Holy Spirit, who abides in me and leads my life. I cannot allow myself to follow the trends and devices of others.”
Paul was not a proud, arrogant preacher. He had emptied himself of all self-ambition, and had allowed the Holy Spirit to become his teacher!