Gracious Lord, come to me now and let me come to You as I read Your holy Word.
Read Galatians 4:8-20
 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods.  But now that you know God-or rather are known by God-how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?  You are observing special days and months and seasons and years!  I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.  I plead with you, brothers, become like me, for I became like you. You have done me no wrong.  As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you.  Even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself.  What has happened to all your joy? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me.  Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?  Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us, so that you may be zealous for them.  It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always and not just when I am with you.  My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you,  how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you! Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat is the danger Paul warns the Galatians about?
It’s deeply upsetting—and difficult to understand—when someone who has known Jesus chooses to give up the freedoms of their new life in Christ.
And it’s not a new problem. Paul knew that the Galatians had well and truly turned to Christ. Their lives showed all the evidence of redeemed hearts: they were generous, welcoming, joyful and compassionate. And Paul loved them.
Small wonder, then, that he was so upset when he learned that they’d turned back to their former habits and were zealously observing religious rituals instead of rejoicing in their new life in Christ. To Paul, this was as odd as a free person choosing to go back to slavery. Yet old ways can be very comforting, even tempting. And the Christian life can be one of suffering.
If we are to hold on to our life with Christ, perhaps we should look at what we’re passionate about. Honestly, what really excites you? Being in a relationship with the Lord of the universe, or sitting in the same place at church every Sunday? Kingdom life or empty ritual—which is it to be?
Are you tempted to be a slave to religious ritual? Are you truly excited about your relationship with the Lord?
Lord Jesus, I know You want me to be free from all forms of slavery. Keep me excited about our relationship.
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