Old Testament Reading: Deuteronomy 17 & 18
Psalms Reading: Psalm 85
* New Testament: Galatians 1
Paul’s letters always offer great lessons, and his letter to the Galatians is no different. In this letter, to fully understand the lesson or example Paul has for us, we have to dig into the context and understand why Paul is writing in the first place.
In this letter, especially in the introduction, Paul is not impressed with how quickly the Galatians have fallen away from his message of truth and started to doubt his “credentials” as an apostle. Despite this, Paul still greets these believers with grace, peace, and truth about Jesus (v. 3-4). I don’t know about you, but if I have been abandoned, disowned, and essentially ignored, I don’t know that I would have the same gracious greeting… Think of all the energy, effort, and overall dedication Paul poured into this group of people when he was traveling, only to find out that someone came along shortly after and messed with everything he built. You would feel so betrayed by this group! You would maybe even want to give up on them and just focus elsewhere, but Paul writes to rebuild and refocus the Galatians.
While Paul does go into a defense for his apostleship, you’ll notice that he isn’t defending himself or his character, but rather he is defending his story that brings glory to God and explains the importance of Jesus. Paul is not interested in being seen as a popular guy; he specifically has no interest in that (v. 10)! He is passionate about making sure the churches of Galatia know the truth about Christ, and that is all! In fact, in some areas he didn’t even want people knowing his name, only his story of redemption and God’s grace, as a way to glorify God (v. 22).
Without explicitly telling us how to live in this chapter, Paul’s response to Galatia churches models several things about living the life of a Christian:
1. We should greet and treat others with grace, and speak truth, no matter what our relationship with them may be.
2. Proclaiming the gospel can be lonely and there will probably be people working against us at times, but our purpose is not related to gaining favor or status with people; it is focused on sharing Jesus.
3. God wants to be glorified in our life, no matter what path we started on, and God has the ability to use our bad history for his glory.
Questions for reflection:
- Who in your life needs to be greeted with grace, peace, and truth by you?
- Where do you see yourself proclaiming the gospel in your life? If you aren’t sure, try starting with the person that came to mind from the previous question.
- Paul says God set him apart from birth (v. 15); what does this reveal to you about God’s character?
God, thank you for the amazing gift of your son, Jesus Christ. Please help us to share this gift with everyone we meet – but today I pray that you reveal to each one of us exactly who you want us to share your truth with. Give us strength and courage when we get lonely, help us remain focused on you and not our own status, and above all, let our lives be glorifying to you. In your son’s name, Amen.