PRAY & READ: Galatians 6
In Paul’s concluding chapter to the Galatians he revisits the Galatian church’s problem with the Judaizers (Circumscizers) in some practical ways. He gives concrete illustrations of what it means to live as a Christian individual within a community when that community is guided by freedom in the Spirit. Paul solidly roots personal responsibility and communal accountability in the theme of Spirit-led freedom he discussed in chapter 5 (5:1, 13-14, 22-25).
I hate conflict, drama and don’t like to confront people. How about you? Verse 1 gives us guidance on how to confront and restore a Christian caught in sin. The principle behind this is that those who “live in the Spirit” are entrusted with the responsible care for one another (2). Sometimes to love someone is to say something really hard for them to hear. While doing this, we must be guard our own spiritual lives so that we do not become prideful and fall into sin ourselves (3-5). This is accomplished only by living in the Spirit (4a), and not simply comparing out spiritual state to that of others (4b). Because ultimately we will all give an account to God (5).
I not a very generous person and my stingy heart hates opening my wallet. This is especially true when it comes to giving to our church if I’m honest. But God is changing me. I almost like to give now. Spiritual people are to be supportive of those who instruct them in righteousness (6). We are to be generous with our earthly things with those who are generous with Spiritual things for us.
Caring for God’s church and ministers is a spiritual responsibility for every believer. Paul compares this to sowing seed, recognizing that you will ultimately reap what you sow. Not in a prosperity gospel sense where if you give to the church or a pastor you will receive that money back and more, but in a spiritual sense. It’s not a pay-day loan. Paul says your giving is spiritual and you will reap spiritual rewards, just as your selfishness and pride are carnal and will reap corruption.
I struggle with pleasing others and wondering what you think about me or what I’m writing. But I’m learning that if strive to please people I cannot be a servant of Jesus well. (Gal 1:10)
That is why in 11-16 Paul describes the difference between living to please God in the Spirit and living to please men with religion. The Judaizers of Galatia wanted Christians to keep the Law simply to avoid religious persecution from religious Jews, rather than boldly proclaiming the cross of Christ and the freedom it brings. Paul instead exults in the cross and any suffering it may bring. He knows and maybe even enjoys suffering a bit if it is suffering for Christ’s sake. Simply put, Paul is dead to the world and the world is dead to him. (14) This thought keeps me focused and free from the slavery of people pleasing for the rest of my life.
1. How are we to help “carry one another’s burdens”? What are some dangers of this to be aware of?
2. How is giving to the church my spiritual responsibility?
3. What are some ways I attempt to please others instead of living in the God-exulting freedom of the cross? Where do you draw the lines of spiritual freedom and living however I want? How are those determined?
MEMORIZE: Galatians 6:14
14 But as for me, I will never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. The world has been crucified to me through the cross, and I to the world.
This week's devotional is written by John Wells. John is a City Church Owner who serves as a Redemption Group Leader and works for the IT Department of UF.