Have you ever felt like you are rolling along in life? You know everything at work, home, and school is exactly the way you expect it to be. Your prayer life and personal quiet time is spot on. Friendships are sweet and refreshing. And then, something happens and you slip. Romans 3:23 tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”
We all sin. It often comes out of nowhere. I’m not referring to the so called “big” sins, but things like a bad attitude, a snide remark, selfishness, pride…..I could keep going, but I won’t.
As I read today’s passage, the thoughts above are what came to me. Galatians 5:7-15 is where we are:
7 You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion is not from him who calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view than mine, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. 11 But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. 12 I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves! 13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
Paul commends the Galatians on “running well”. This is not unusual for him. In 1 Corinthians 9:24, he talks of running to obtain the prize. In Hebrews 12:1, he says to run with endurance. So it’s not odd at all to hear Paul use the analogy of running in Galatians. He asks them a poignant question. He wants to know who has hindered these people that he dearly loves from obeying what they know to be truth. He reminds them that it only takes a little bit of something to ruin the whole. That’s sort of like the whole class missing recess because one kid misbehaved.
Then he is right back to encouraging them in their faith. He tells them that he is confident in what they believe…his view. Confident — what a strong and beautiful word!! Even more beautiful because his confidence is in the Lord. It’s in what the Lord is doing in these people that are so precious to Paul. Can you imagine being mentored in the faith by the Apostle Paul? Wow!
I love that he continues to remind them that their faith is not based on anything they can do. If it was, the cross would have been for nothing. And we know that the cross was everything!!! Paul’s encouragement continues as he reminds them to live out their faith in the way they treat each other…to “love your neighbor as yourself”. He ends this passage with a warning to be alert for those that can lead astray. He warns that we can be devoured by one another when we are not on guard.
To bring it to a more personal note for me, this means that I have to be careful of what I watch and do. I have to be careful of who I hang around. Negative attitudes can be just as influential and problematic as bad language. I am extremely blessed in that my circle of influence is pretty small. As a homeschooling mama, I tend to be around like minded people but we can still get discouraged and be negative. And I can be very selfish. I forget to “love my neighbor”.
My prayer is that my focus would be to really “love my neighbor”. I’m challenging myself to do just that at least once this week. How about you? Can you find one way to show love to someone…to your neighbor, this week?
Until tomorrow…Joy to You!