My teenage years were controlled by the opinions of others. Trying to fit in so much made me make bad choices that i really wouldn’t have made otherwise. To say i lost myself in the process of being a people pleaser is such an understatement. Being in people bondage is one of the worst things that can happen to anyone because it strips the individual of his/her ability to think for his/herself. It takes away identity.
There are many reasons why we find ourselves in people bondage and one of them is the desire to be accepted. We were created to thrive in community. This desire makes us long for acceptance within our community. Probably you can relate with being in situations where you found yourself living a different life not necessarily because you didn’t know any better, but because you didn’t want to lose your friends or be tagged as a ‘rebel’.
We will always find ourselves in people bondage whenever we hold the opinion of humans above the opinion of God. Whenever we think of what they will say more than what God will say. When we fear men more than we fear God.
People bondage is something that anyone could fall into if we are not careful. The brave Peter who physically attacked one of the men who came to arrest Jesus Christ and who also spoke fearlessly after the encounter at the day of Pentecost found himself trapped in this cage at some point in his ministry. Thankfully he got told off by Paul and this gave him the wake up call he desperately needed. Before you continue reading, please read Galatians 2:11-21.
Peter and Paul were both great men who did amazing things for God but they both had different approach to leadership. Despite Paul and Peter were both Jews, Paul had an open mind towards the Gentiles more than Peter did. The Gentiles were seen as sinners and as such the Jews who were considered as circumscribed had a superior mindset over the Gentiles when it came to spiritual matters.
Paul’s open-mindedness led to him being accused of watering down the gospel of Christ to make it easier for the Gentiles to accept. In return, Paul accused the Jews of nullifying the truth of God’s word by adding conditions to it. The church at that time was split in 2 groups – one believing that salvation is through Christ alone and the other believing that it comes through Christ and adherence to the law. Paul was being used to reach the Gentiles whilst Peter was being used to reach the Jews.
On this particular day, the Jews and Gentiles gathered for a meal. Paul and Peter were there too. Peter was already having double standard about the way he was relating with the Gentiles. Previously he had no problem eating with them. But on this day, he refused to eat with them because he wanted to please James and the other Jewish Christians. The implication of this was that Peter was exalting the law more than the grace of God.
Compromise is an important element in getting along with others, but we must never compromise the truth of God’s word. If we feel we have to change our christian beliefs to match those of our companions, we are on a dangerous ground.
Although Peter was a leader of the church, he was also acting like a hypocrite. He knew better, yet he was driven by fear of what James and the others would think. Fear is a tool that the devil uses in keeping us in people bondage.
Have you found yourself compromising your godly standards because of the way you will be perceived by others?
Have you found yourself talking less about Christ due to fear of being made fun of?
The bible text also reveals the importance of being in a christian community. Because Peter was in a community of believers, he was called out and rebuked. He would has gone unchecked if he was alone and that would have been dangerous to his ministry.
I personally feel that we are in a season in the body of Christ were many ideas are coming up on how to win souls for the kingdom. And i feel that we are gradually treading of grey areas in an attempt to win souls. Our messages are being diluted because we want to conform and look cool. The books some of us are reading, the music we listen to, the movies we watch and certain things we do are things we won’t be comfortable doing if Jesus was sat next to us. Some of us were never like this, but gradually because of people bondage and trying to fit into the world, we have become lukewarm. We need to examine ourselves to see if we are placing humans in the place where only God is supposed to occupy in our hearts.
Instead of thinking of what people will say, think of what God will say.
Instead of thinking of how people will feel, think of how God will feel.
Instead of thinking of how people will see you, think of how God will see you.
In the end, our ultimate goal should be to please God. We will be shocked at how far we can go in life if we break the cage of people bondage.