Don’t Turn Back

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Galatians 4:8-11 At the time, when you didn’t know God, you were enslaved by things that aren’t gods by nature. But now, after knowing God (or rather, being known by God), how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless world system? Do you want to be slaves to it again? 10 You observe religious days and months and seasons and years. 11 I’m afraid for you! Perhaps my hard work for you has been for nothing. 

Paul is saying something here that I think we can’t overlook. After we have faith in Christ, it is easy to forget about the faith and go on living our old way of life.

One of my favorite sayings goes something like this, “Christ meets us where we are but doesn’t leave us as we are.” I think this is a telling reminder of how the presence of Jesus Christ in our lives really can and does make all the difference. We are different people after an encounter with Jesus the Christ. Or something else can happen. We can be so zealous of the faith that we begin to follow a prescription for how to live for God and we can actually create a set of rules that make it difficult to be a Christian unless they are followed. Or the person is not worshipping Christ “correctly.”

To order our lives around a set of “rules and regulations” can enslave us again. Jesus Christ calls us and invites us to live in freedom. Here we do not focus on what we cannot do (or what we are against). We instead focus on what we can do (or what we are for). For us to be enslaved to the “world’s system” means that we will care more about what other people think or are doing than we think about God’s desires. It is easy to go with the crowd, but w should be careful not to have the crowd bind us into something we cannot be or know is not true.

We should also take time to pray for and encourage our leaders. They may not always get everything right, we are all human after all; but they have worked to bring us to a place in our faith that it would break their hearts to know we have fallen away. This is the tone in Paul’s voice and attitude toward the people of Galatia. He is heartbroken they are more easily swayed by the winds of something new and exciting, than to be firm in their faith and live in freedom.

Paul is asking the people to remember who they follow, Jesus Christ, and asking them to re-examine their lives and faith. I believe we should do this as well. It is important for us to stand firm in our faith in Jesus Christ, because his message is the only one that keeps us free.

Remember, we are FREE from trying to be like everyone else. We are FREE to be like Jesus Christ in all we say and in all we do.

#LiveFreeInChrist

Published by

Ryan Stratton

Ryan Stratton is a pastor in the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. He serves with his wife, Amanda, along with their children. He writes about life, faith, and leadership through his blog.

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