by Philip Layton
Paul is concerned for the Galatians
Is this further evidence that the thorn in the flesh referred to in 2 Corinthians chapter 12 was his bad eyesight (v 15)? Could this be a result of being blinded when first called (see Acts chapter 9)?
Paul talks about the reality of backsliding – losing the joy of holiness and turning away from salvation (vv 8-20). Is it possible for us to backslide today?
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Going Deeper From 'Words of Life'
There’s nothing quite like seeing someone come to Christ and showing evidence of joy, freedom, release, forgiveness, change, transformation. They glow – because the Spirit of God now dwells within them. They’re adopted into the family of God, becoming new in Christ. Nothing can compare! Then time passes. The joy gradually dissipates. The exuberance, lost. The Christian walk becomes mundane. What’s happened?
Paul shows his genuine concern as he questions the Galatians in his letter, saying to them: How can you slip back into your old ways, the way you were living before you knew Christ? Maybe not committing blatant sins; but being, as Paul says, in a state of slavery to the old life, the old way of living. He then says to them: I fear for you (v 11).
He makes a personal appeal, for he genuinely cares for his brothers (v 12). He longs for them to be revitalised in their spirit. To not be bound, but to be free. To experience complete abandonment.
I love my husband, Dave. He’s much more daring than I am. But he gently pushes me, to move beyond any fears I might have. And so, one day, we went white-water rafting. It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. And I lived to tell the tale! Rapids. Gushing water. Speed. Fear. Fabulous! Yes, Dave was concerned for my safety, and could understand my hesitation at first. But because he cares for me, I trusted him. It was an exhilarating experience – complete abandonment.
Having the joy of the Lord within is far more than this. It’s something to be greatly treasured. And it is so revitalising and invigorating! Perhaps reliving a conversion experience might be necessary, to make sure Christ’s joy overflows in our own life.
May we be sensitive to God’s leading. May we be people of encouragement to others as we come alongside and walk with our brothers and sisters. It’s about showing concern, compassion, care. It’s about complete abandonment – in Christ!
Beverly IvanyTags: Galatians