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Posts Tagged ‘Gospel’

Tapestry of Grace

One of the things I love most about Galatians is its continued message of freedom, grace, and life through Jesus. It’s the gospel story told over and over and over again. It’s as if Paul is saying, ‘If you didn’t understand it that way, let me tell it to you this way. I will keep explaining it to you until it sinks from your head to your heart and back up again. So that your whole world view, your perspective on everything, is changed. In order for this message to become the sole filter you sift everything through.’

And so we come to Galatians 3.15-25 – an analogy. A modern example of what Christ did for us.

It must have been 3-4 years ago now that I first heard this analogy taught. I’m not sure where I was, all I know is that the comparison stayed with me for days, weeks, months, as I processed it, not only for what it was, but for what the implications of it would be.

It went something like this:

paid-off-mortgageImagine one day you get a letter in the mail that your mortgage has been paid in full. You call the bank to see what’s up and the voice an the other end tells you how a sweet stranger came in talking of how much they loved you and wanted to clear your name forever from this debt. You don’t have to make another payment the rest of your life…. Do you continue mailing in payments? Do you go to the bank and ask if you can clean their bathrooms, or file papers to help pay back your loan or to say thank you for what they’ve done. Of course not! They would look at you like you had lost your mind. They didn’t pay the debt; a complete stranger was the one who came in and loved you enough to set you free from the obligation. Find that person. Get to know them. Say thank you to them, not the bank.

Paul does the same thing here with the church in Galatia. In this short passage he uses the word promise 7 times. An old saying goes something like this – a promise is only as good as the person who said it. It’s in trusting that God is who he says he is and that he has already taken care of your debt. We don’t have to prove ourselves worthy in order to have relationship with him. It’s in and through him that we are worthy, free and loved.

There’s such a beautiful tapestry, interlaced in, among, and around us, like threads connecting, drawing each one together, wooing the spirit and soul to the reality of tapestry-threadslove, life, freedom and grace. It’s the beauty of the promise given by one who loves us before we know him, the worth and intricate value given because he created us, the trust that is built as we learn more of who he is, the belief in the promise that gives us courage to step out in freedom, the freedom that gives us strength to lean into that promise, the love that overwhelms the soul giving it peace to rest in his sweet, sweet whispered hope that resonates deep within our very essence.

This and this alone is the promise and in this my soul will find rest.

wall,art,wise,words,heart,freedom,courage,balloon,freedom-3f29078a80bf0a4dac642d73cb7e5ea3_h

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My thoughts on Galatians 1.1-10

From the very beginning of this letter Paul appears to be very deliberate. Choosing even the words in his greeting carefully, always directing people back to the grace of Christ – the message of the gospel.

Taking only a few verses to say hello, he gets right to the point of why he’s writing – something pivotal is being distorted. Something that is at the core of who they are is in a vulnerable position. Paul needs to remind the people of Galatia (he needs to remind us) of the truth.

Truth-and-lies1Like all things in life, you cannot change what you do not acknowledge. Sometimes we need people in our lives that are there to point out the things we do not see. We need people in our lives to remind us of the reality of the truth when the lies seem so convincing and true. This is what Paul is doing. He’s showing the people of Galatia the deception; he is telling them that there are liars out, fabricators of truth, who want to deceive them. People whom, in the words of Paul, should ‘be accursed’ for all they are trying to do.

And Paul doesn’t stop there; he goes to the root of the temptation – the lure of the deception. He looks at the heart of the church of Galatia and point out their blind spot so that they not only stand firm against this deception they are facing today, but that they are able to stand strong against anything that would come between them and an intimate relationship with God through the grace of Christ.

Paul addresses the approval factor. That thing inside of each one of us that longs to be loved, accepted, and cherished, not for the things we do, but for who we are. That built in part of us that embraces the praises and ‘attaboys’. It’s the same part of us that hides those things that bring us shame and pushes us away from those we most long to connect with.

Let’s step back and take a minute to consider the last verse in this passage: “If I were still trying to please man I would not be a servant of Christ.” These words may appear to be harsh words of judgment. Yet, they really are a simply a statement of truth.

MomJugglingI remember early on in my academic career, I was young, had two children that I was trying to homeschool in elementary school, all the while trying to keep my house in order. Many nights I would stay up late after everyone was in bed, only to wake up a few hours later, trying to grab a couple of hours of study time before everyone was awake again. (Coffee was my best friend during these days.) My motivation, my heart, my passion, the thing that drove me to those crazy hours was my focus on doing the best I could, knowing that one day my transcript would be examined by a board of strangers who would determine my fate into graduate school. In the back of my head throughout my days, as I planned family events, play dates for my girls, even considering what meals we’d eat, I always asked the question – will this sacrifice my grades. I was driven by the approval of an unknown board of people, knowing without their approval I wouldn’t get what I really wanted – entrance into graduate school.

Each one of us has something like this, something that is driving our daily lives, our priorities, and our passions. For some this may be a degree, for others its a friendship, an image, a persona that has consumed their identity. What Paul is trying to get through to the people of Galatia, and what God is trying to get through to us today, is that thing that is driving your approval is the very thing that you are serving, whether consciously or not.

As we get further into Galatians you’ll see examples where the approval of man has interfered with the truth. And as a result, it takes people away from intimacy with God.

Take a moment to ask yourself what’s driving you? Who’s or what approval are you longing for? Is it driving you closer to the grace of Jesus or further from his embrace? Are you seeing yourself more clearly or do you feel like you are loosing your identity?

da3b5a56666364c4acde690e401c57ceAsk God to show you today how loved you are by Him. Ask Him for His approval. Ask Him for His grace filled eyes to overwhelm your every move today, and to give you a glimpse into what He sees. He loves you more than you could ever imagine. And better yet, He loves you for the simple reason that you are His. You are beautifully and wonderfully made, by Him, through Him and in Him.

Rest in His peace today, precious dear one.

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