Guard your freedom!
Lord, lead me to live a fuller, more consistent Christian life. Lead me into ever-greater truth and freedom.
Read GALATIANS 5:1–15
 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.  Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all.  Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law.  You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.  For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope.  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.  You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?  That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you.  “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.”  I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty.  Brothers and sisters, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished.  As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!  You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.  For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhy is Paul so passionately opposed to circumcision?
Paul was raised to keep the Jewish Law in every detail (Phil. 3:4,5). The result, in his case, was that he became institutionalized by a culture of rules—blinkered, prejudiced and imprisoned. And it all began with circumcision, which was the non-negotiable sign of Jewish observance. How vehemently Paul now argues against that act of circumcision! It is the turnstile into a dark labyrinth of legalism, from which he himself has been exhilaratingly delivered. Paul knows the difference between law and grace in his own experience. For him, there’s no contest—grace must win every time. He begs his Galatian readers to choose this life of grace for themselves. So, if the requirements of the Law were so specific and strict, is the life of grace a free-for-all? Paul says, very simply, that grace is a life of love: a proper love for one’s self and others, inspired and enabled by the self-giving love of God. Ironically, this is what the Law had always truly wanted.
Take time for an activity that will nourish and refresh you. Be blessed by your loving Father.
Holy Spirit, thank You for liberating me! Breathe through every part of my soul.
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