The big picture
Lord, as I walk through my days, am I carrying Your heart for those I encounter? Help me love as I’ve been loved.
Read GALATIANS 6:1–18
 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.  Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.  If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.  Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else,  for each one should carry their own load.  Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.  Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.  Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.  Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.  See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!  Those who want to impress people by means of the flesh are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ.  Not even those who are circumcised keep the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your circumcision in the flesh.  May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.  Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation.  Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule-to the Israel of God.  From now on, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen. 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.
ReflectWhat is central for Paul?
When you’ve been through a period of intense activity, of work, worry or conflict, do you ever stand back afterwards and ask what it was all about? As Paul approaches the end of this crucial letter, he takes the pen from his secretary to write a final, personal perspective. He emphasizes the priority to care for and restore one another, rather than to judge and condemn. Patiently doing good sows a heavenly harvest (9). Circumcision is really (and literally) a very small thing. An incision in the skin cannot possibly make a person right with God (15). When it comes to scars, Paul has plenty (2 Tim. 3:11), but the only wounds that save are those of Jesus (Isa. 53:5). We can now stand back and ask how this letter speaks to us. Are there certain behaviors by which we judge people to be beyond God’s love? Are there aspects of our life where we’ve been mistakenly trying to earn credit with God? Surely the big picture is that we have all sinned and God longs for us all to be saved.
Enjoy the fresh air of the freedom we have in Christ and exercise that freedom today!
Good Father, I take in the amazing reality of Your grace and walk in the freedom of Your lavish love.
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