June 25: Galatians-Day 14

Read Galatians 6:11-18

“See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!”

You know that, when you want to get your point across, you text in all caps? That’s what Paul is doing here. He desperately wants the Galatians to get back on the right path and follow Jesus wholeheartedly. He cares so much about the people he is writing to. He’s not writing out of sheer obligation, but in love.

I admire Paul for so many reasons. One of the biggest reasons is his humility. He writes, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world (Galatians 6:14).” He strives to always put Jesus first and he tells others to keep himself accountable.

What would it look like for you to never boast in anything except for Christ?

It can be hard not to get recognition for a job well done. However, if we do everything for the glory of God, we will get recognized one day; it just might not be here on earth. It takes humility to go unnoticed. Jesus is humble and He’s the king of the world. Certainly, we can become more humble.

Humility goes against the grain of our society.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12

As we humble ourselves before the Lord, we become more like Him. He calls us to be holy as He is holy. We cannot be holy and prideful; the two do not mix.

If you find yourself in the position that the Galatians were in, turn to Jesus today. He wants to break your chains and free you from the weight of your sin.

What is one way that you can humble yourself before the Lord this week?

June 24: Galatians-Day 13

Read Galatians 6:1-10

When I think about my friends, I am overwhelmed by the way they love me. These are friends who keep me in check. If I am messing up or thinking about something in the wrong way, they let me know. I have served with them, gone on mission trips with them, laughed (a lot) with them, and cried with them. They make me better just by the way they live.

These are the kind of friends Paul is writing about in Galatians 6. My friends have carried my burdens in ways that I never expected. They do everything in love. I am beyond blessed by them. These friendships have taken years to build, though. We had to learn how each of us works and thinks. We had to build trust and commitment.  

As part of the church, we have an obligation to one another. We are to confront each other in love, but we are to check ourselves first. We are to carry each other’s burdens. We are to do good, even when we’re tired. The Church has been created to spur one another on.

It can be hard to find people to push you towards Jesus, so do not give up. Keep on serving Christ with your life and trust His plan for your life. He will put the right people in your life when the time is just right.

Seek out a community of people who will encourage you in your walk with Jesus. We were not designed to live this life alone.

“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:1-2

How can you spur on a brother or sister in Christ today?

What do you need to do to find a community of people who will encourage you in your relationship with Jesus?

June 23: Galatians-Day 12

Read Galatians 5:13-26

We are called to be free, Paul writes, but he never says that this freedom will be easy. It is a free gift, but becoming free of the “sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissension and factions, envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like” can be incredibly painful. When sin grips our heart, the Evil One does his best to keep it that way.

Thankfully, our God is stronger! When we turn to Him and rely on Him as we rid ourselves of sin, He provides the strength to stand firm. That does not mean that it will be easy, but that it is doable.

As we remove sin from our lives, we must also take on the fruit of the Spirit, which is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” It can also be painful to adjust our lives to the fruit of the Spirit. We have to humble ourselves to a place where we put others above ourselves (v. 14) and crucify our “flesh with its passions and desires.”

As we spend more time in the Word and cast aside the ways of the world, the fruit of the Spirit will become more natural, but there will always be room to grow and we will always have to fight against our sinful nature to become more like Jesus.

When I think of godly men and women that I know, I immediately think of the way they love me and others around them. Their joyful spirits and the peace they demonstrate in relationships paired with their patience when I don’t understand something makes me gravitate towards them. Their tolerance in love, the way they treat people and how they work to do good works to honor God, how faithful they are to their people and most importantly to God, and the way they control themselves is inspiring. I want to be like them.

Today, pick one of the fruits: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Then invite God’s Spirit to make that even stronger in your life. Maybe you struggle with patience; today is the day, with the Spirit’s help, to work on patience. Surrender to the Spirit of God and set aside the deeds of the flesh.

Maybe you take one each week for 9 weeks and work on it. Just imagine what would happen in your life and the lives of those around you if you took this challenge!

June 22: Galatians-Day 11

Read Galatians 5:1-12

I love to reminisce on life and sit in the bliss of past memories. Sometimes I think back on fun memories with friends or times where I vividly saw God move in my life, but sometimes I reminisce on Christ’s sacrifice for us. When I really stop to think about it, I am overwhelmed. We are so sinful and flawed, yet He died for us. For me. A lot of times it becomes common to me, but was a disservice to his sacrifice. He died to save me and you.

Just think about it: the God of the Universe created us, we betrayed Him, and then He decided to allow His only son to die an excruciating death to save the very people who betrayed Him.  It is hard for me to fully understand why He would do that for us, but what I do know is that He did it because He loves us so much.

We are then empowered to love others by the power of His love.

“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

This verse is so simple, but carries such weight. We are charged with loving others the way that Christ loves us. Love and grace go hand-in-hand, so we must not lose sight of His grace when we work to love others well.

Throughout these 12 verses, Paul is teaching the Galatians that their performance is not what saves them and actually hinders them from their ministry. In verse 6 Paul writes, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” Our faith is built in the love of Christ and is displayed by the way we love others.

Take a moment to reminisce on Christ’s sacrifice and His love for you.

Who do you need to show the love of Christ to this week?

June 21: Galatians-Day 10

Read Galatians 4:19-31

Have you ever met someone who is so joyful that, even in their hardest seasons, they rejoice? I never understood it until a few years ago. Finding joy in the hardships did not even make sense to me. How could I possibly be joyful when everything around me seems dark and uncertain? Yet, God calls me to be joyful.

“Be glad, barren woman, you who never bore a child; shout for joy and cry aloud, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband.” Galatians 4:27

Sarah is told to shout with joy, even though the pain of not having a child was immense. Her joy would be a product of her trust in the Lord.

We can rejoice, too. I have found that the greatest joy comes from the greatest surrender. Giving your life over to God allows you to live a completely free life.

Verse 28 tells us that we are “children of promise,” just as Isaac (Sarah’s son) was. We can remember in times of pain and hardship that God is good and His plan is always for our good, even when we cannot see it.

Joy does not mean that your situation will improve. Instead, it means that you can see the goodness of the Lord even when there does not seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel.

This week, I encourage you to memorize James 1:2-4 if you have not done so yet. Memorizing scripture allows us to meditate on the Word of God throughout the day and equips us to fight for joy.

June 20: Galatians-Day 9

Read Galatians 4:12-18

When Paul first met the Galatians, he was ill but they took him in and loved him unconditionally. They embraced him and, seemingly, the message of the gospel. As time went on, others began to influence them into thinking that they needed to have faith in Jesus and to keep the Old Testament law in order to please God. Paul, therefore, encouraged them to remember the way they once loved him and to remember their calling.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

Chances are, you are like me. I don’t like to be called out. It is so hard to hear from others when I mess up. However, that is an important part of church life. Within the church, we are to be accountable while loving each other sacrificially. When we love one another with that kind of love, we are able to love others better, and then people see Jesus through our lives.

The love that Paul writes about here is difficult. It’s the act of giving up yourself for someone else. To do this well, we have to stand together and push each other towards Jesus.

This type of community can be found in an accountability partner or mentor and by joining a Grace Group!

The enemy wants you to stray from the mission, as the Galatians did. He wants you to pull away from the body of Christ and to zealously leave grace in favor of anything else. That’s why the community of the church is so important.

If you haven’t joined a group, it’s time. It’s time to join fellow believers and dig into the Word together.

When two or more believers gather together, great things happen for the Lord.

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17

Sign up for a group here:

https://woostergrace.org/next-steps/groups-2/

June 19: Galatians-Day 8

Read Galatians 4:1-11

I love stories of adoption. When a child goes from being an orphan to a treasured member of a family, it’s just priceless.

Today, as I was reading my Bible, I was struck with the fact that I once lived in such a darkness. I was once the orphan, a slave to that darkness (Galatians 4:8). Until we began a relationship with Jesus, we were all slaves to evil.

Let that sink in: we were once slaves to darkness.

Let’s not stay in that place, though. We get to celebrate and live in freedom because God gives us the opportunity to join His family through His son, Jesus.

“But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.” Galatians 4:3

Now, let that sink in.

When we sin, we break the Creator’s heart. Yet, He still chooses to offer us forgiveness and grace.

That’s what I love about Our Father. We were once orphans, but when we meet Jesus, we are taken in. We are adopted: chosen, loved, and cared for.

Don’t waste this gift . . . this gift of love, family, belonging, freedom, and forgiveness. You get to take part in all of that when you give your life to Jesus.

So, don’t let another day go by where you are not right with the Lord. Don’t turn back to those old ways; live in the light!

June 18: Galatians-Day 7

Read Galatians 3:15-29

I remember when I was little and my parents had rules that I didn’t exactly understand or agree with. It was sometimes hard for me to see where they were coming from, but I always trusted that they created the rules because they loved me, so I was usually able to understand the rules eventually…at least to some extent.

Just like when I was little and my parents put rules in place to keep me safe and to guide me down the right path, God put rules in place to keep his children safe and to guide them towards Him. He was preparing them, through covenants and promises that would be fulfilled thousands of years later. He was using the laws to point out sin and to point to the Savior.

Simply put, Jesus changes everything.

The law was a guardian, as it says in verse 24. The law does not save us. Only Jesus does.

Of course, there are still rules and commands that are given to those who follow Jesus. Keeping these commands does not save us, but our obedience is a means of demonstrating gratitude and love (John 14:21). When we obey, we are living the best life possible. For example, we are to…

  • Love one another (John 13:34-35).
  • Flee from sin (Romans 6:6-7).
  • Proclaim our faith through baptism and spread the gospel (Matthew 28:19-20).

These commands come from the faith we have in Christ and the transforming power of His love and sacrifice.

“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Galatians 3:36-27

When we claim to follow Jesus, the Holy Spirit transforms our lives. We begin to want to live by the rules. When I was 16, there were rules that I appreciated. I had matured to a place where I valued the accountability of the rules in place. Now, as I grow in my relationship with Jesus, I begin to appreciate the commands that come with being a follower of Jesus.

Which of the 3 commands listed do you need to work on this week?

June 17: Galatians-Day 6

Read Galatians 3:6-14

This past semester, I was in an Old Testament Literature class, affectionately called “OT” by Cedarville students. Before taking OT, I had never thought deeply about how the Old Testament and New Testament relate to one another and the greater storyline of the Bible. I knew that the New Testament commented on and referenced the Old Testament, but I never thought about it beyond that. I learned a lot of dates and historical landmarks in OT, but my greatest takeaway was how powerful the New Testament is, because of its foundation in the Old Testament.

You see, God promised Abraham that his name would be made great and that every person on this earth would someday be blessed through Abraham. “I will bless those who bless you, I will curse those who treat you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you (Genesis 12:3).”

About 2,000 years later, Paul writes to the Galatians, “Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: ‘All nations will be blessed through you.’ So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith (Galatians 3:8-9).”

It is just incredible to me how the Word of God stands the test of time. The connections between the Old and New Testament further secure our trust in the Bible.

There are times that it can be difficult to understand the Bible, though. We’ve all been there, right? One area that can be a little difficult is where the Biblical law is concerned. God places quite a few laws on the people of Israel. Just read Leviticus. You may notice that we no longer follow most of these laws. We no longer have to sacrifice sheep or goats to repent and be purified because of Jesus’ death on the cross.

“He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.” Galatians 3: 14

Friend, Jesus came to free you from your chains and to bring you everlasting life.

God promised Abraham that the Gentiles would be justified through faith. Abraham didn’t understand it at the time, but God did and He followed through. He always follows through.

In what area of your life are you living like the law still binds you? Do you keep a set of rules thinking that your rule keeping somehow endears you to God? What do you need to do to live in the freedom of God’s grace?

June 16: Galatians-Day 5

Read Galatians 3:1-5

We are now in the third chapter of Galatians and Paul is still rebuking the Church of Galatia. They are trying to live life on their own, they are forgetting God’s grace and trusting in false gospels (Galatians 1:6-7), and they are being incredibly hypocritical (Galatians 2:13).

I had planned to talk about how we are so similar to the Church of Galatia and, of course, we are. Instead, I want to focus on clinging to the hope we have in Christ.

The Church of Galatia’s biggest issue was that they didn’t trust Jesus. They believed in Him, but they didn’t trust Him. What started as this beautiful relationship quickly turned to a group of people who desperately wanted to live in truth, but lost sight of that truth. It is so easy to lose sight of the truth of Jesus Christ, isn’t it?

Let me encourage you today, friends. Trying to live our lives on our own will always be a vain effort. Jesus did not perform miracles for us to turn our backs on Him or to trust more in something else. It is so tempting to seek comfort in the world, but Jesus is so much better. Jesus provides comfort, rest, and grace.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29

When I was in early high school, my grandma was diagnosed with two brain tumors which led to a rapid decrease in all of her motor skills. We expected her to live for a couple of weeks, maybe a month, but she ended up living in this condition for almost 6 months. She lived 4 hours away, so my mom would travel back and forth to help care for her.

I went through a phase where I thought I could stray from God because all of this was happening to me. I needed the words that Paul wrote in Galatians: “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified (Galatians 3:1).” I was so foolish to think that I could just leave the grace of God behind. Thankfully, He quickly pulled me back to Him where the words of Matthew 11:28 spoke to my soul and I felt Christ’s love in a new way.

Friends, today you may be feeling on top of the world or you may be in the greatest valley of your life. No matter where you are, Jesus sees you. He loves you. Do not make the mistake of fleeing from His grace. Run to Him, His arms are wide open.