Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Galatians 3:1-3 Don’t be a fool!

It’s not just the Galatians who needed to be reminded of God’s wonderful grace! As Paul scolds the “foolish Galatians” in this next passage, I’m sure we could all use this little kick in the butt to avoid falling into the same trap they had plunged into. Or maybe we are so far down that hole we need to grab hold of Paul’s hand to be pulled out!

Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross.  Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ.  How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? (Galatians 3:1-3 NLT)

How important it is to remember that we were saved by grace and we are to continue to walk by grace. Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:10, “ For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” We can’t even take credit for our works. They are gifts of grace from Him designed specifically for each of us. Yet, we sometimes act as if we think God is so lucky to have us on His side! “Man, God sure got a good workhorse when He got me!”

Do you find yourself exhausted by all you are “doing for the LORD?” Are you running in circles from meeting to meeting, Bible study to choir practice, teaching Sunday school while trying to make it through three different programs to read the Bible in a year? Oh wait! Is that my calendar I’m reading from?????? What in the world are we thinking? There really can be too much of a good thing. In fact, often when we pile the “good things” onto our plates, we no longer have room for the “best thing” - the one particular thing that God has called us to.

Being someone who suffers from “helium hand” - you know, the one that goes up to volunteer whenever a need is presented - I was very grateful when, early in my walk with the LORD a wise woman told me, “The need isn’t necessarily the call. There will always be needs. But if you jump in to fill every need, you may actually be taking away the job of someone God has specifically called to it.” PHEW! That so relieved me of the guilt of NOT volunteering for every urgent plea for help!

When we begin to burn out, it is possibly because we are no longer walking in grace, but walking in our own works. Jesus came to lift our burdens, not add to them. So if you are feeling weighted down, or if you are grumbling because you are always the one doing EVERYTHING, rethink that. God is not going to love you more because you baked the cookies, organized the church picnic, wrote the material for Vacation Bible School, and served on three church committees. If He has called you to any or all of that, you will know. He will confirm it. [A good rule of thumb is to pray with your spouse about commitments you undertake] But all of those tasks you complete won’t make God love you more. He ALREADY loves you more than you can comprehend.

When we get into the works mode, it leads to pride. God hates that! Or it leads to judgmental attitudes toward everyone else. God hates that, too! Paul’s point is very clear: it’s all by grace from beginning to end. I needed that reminder!  

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