Sound Bites: Galatians
Going to try something a little different for the next couple of days. We live in a time in history when we have become enamoured with “sound bites.” The 5 minute news story has been replaced by the 30 second news flash. The full-length interview has given way to the vignette. We want something concise. We want something that speaks right to the heart of the matter. Amidst all of the clutter and clatter we scream out, “Get to the point!” So, in keeping with contemporary culture, I introduce to you a series entitled, “Sound Bites.” One verse from each chapter of a specific book. Short. Simple. Straightforward. The truth is that God does not need a 900 word blog. All it takes is just one word from Him to change everything. My prayer is that God will use these thoughts in the days ahead to both encourage and challenge each of us. Today, we begin in Galatians.
1:23-24, “but only, they kept hearing, ‘He who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith which he once tried to destroy.’ And they were glorifying God because of me“… The evidence of grace was profoundly obvious in the life of Paul. Who he “once” was had become lost in the “is now” of God’s changing love. Humbling to think that the way I live my faith can potentially lead others to glorify God. My personal conduct, conversation and character are critical in God’s economy.
2:7, “But on the contrary, seeing that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised“… Just that phrase “entrusted with the gospel.” God has placed within our hands and care a very valuable possession. I should not handle the message of Christ as if it is a common thing. It is a sacred trust, one requiring my full devotion.
3:6, “Even so Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.”… Too often I fail to appreciate the importance of belief, of trusting God. God made Abraham a promise. Abraham believed God. I would do well to do the same. I need to stop looking at excuses and reasons and instead look to the God of the promise. He will never fail His word. Never.
4:19, “My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you – “…For those in ministry this serves as a powerful reminder that the work is never done. Paul had already “given birth” to the church in Galatia. Now he is undergoing “labor” again on their behalf. Real love for people never runs from the pains of labor. Real ministry is all about doing the necessary work as often as it takes.
5:16, “But I say, walk in the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” Just that phrase “…carry out…” Desire is not necessarily removed. Temptation comes to us all. The flesh still has a voice, a presence. But now, as I walk in the Spirit, the power of desire has been subjugated to the will of the Spirit. I may hear it’s voice but I do not “carry out” it’s wishes. The Spirit’s “no” will always triumph over the flesh’s “yes.”
6:9, “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary“…God will owe no man. He has promised a harvest to me. My portion is to remain faithful and patient. I lean upon Him, especially during that sometime lengthy season between when the seed is planted and the fruit is harvested. If I sow, I will reap. The crucial concern is to remain steadfast, to keep doing good.