Tuesday, June 22, 2010


TODAY'S SPECIAL: Galatians 4:21-5:1

TO CHEW ON: "Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage." Galatians 5:1

At the time I am writing this we are in a season of TV program finales. Last Sunday night the final episode of "Survivor" aired. Last night twitter was full of anticipation over the final episode of "Lost." I watched the ending of "Celebrity Apprentice" (oh foolish woman) -- and vowed next season I wouldn't let myself start following one of these entertaining time-wasters. Because they sure get their hooks in you so you want, no need, to see the next episode, and the next, and the next…

It's a type of bondage, what the dictionary describes as "subjection to any influence or domination." And it's the topic of our today's reading in Galatians.

The bondage that Paul is pleading with the Galatians to throw off once and for all is bondage to keeping the ceremonial law as a way of earning God's favour. The whole reason for that law is because we're under another kind of bondage -- a slavery to ourselves and our own sinful natures. Our dilemma is depicted throughout scripture.

- We show our entrapment when we sin: "His own iniquities entrap the wicked man, and he is caught in the cords of his sin" (Proverbs 5:22).

- We can't change this predilection to sin on our own (Jeremiah 13:23).

- Paul articulates the pinch we're in in Romans 7. Even the rules (law) which God gave to help us understand Him and His standards work against us in that they arouse sinful passions instead of quelling them (Romans 7:5). We find ourselves, despite our best efforts, in bondage to our sinful natures so that Paul cries out in frustration "Who will deliver me from this body of death?" (Romans 7:22-24).

Paul answers his own question in Romans 8. We get free from our sinful selves not by trying to keep laws but by walking according to the Spirit: "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death" (Romans 8:1-2). It is in this freedom that Paul is pleading with the Galatians to "Stand fast."

What does living in this freedom look like in everyday living? Oswald Chambers says:

"Always keep your life measured by the standards of Jesus. Bow your neck to His yoke alone, and to no other yoke whatever; and be careful to see that you never bind a yoke on others that is not placed by Jesus Christ. It takes God a long time to get us out of the way of thinking that unless everyone sees as we do, they must be wrong. That is never God's view. There is only one liberty, the liberty of Jesus at work in our conscience enabling us to do what is right." (My Utmost for His Highest - May 6 reading)

As I see it, it's a life lived by a conscience formed and sharpened by the Word of God and applied by the Holy Spirit. Your thoughts?

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, help me to life under Your light yoke. May I recognize and stay away from anything that would enslave me under a different yoke. Amen.

MORE: Jason Upton sings "Freedom Reigns"

Do your 8-12-year-olds have daily devotions? Point them to Bible Drive-Thru.

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