Scripture: Galatians 3:1-14
Observation: As the Galatians began to assume that obeying the law (doing right things) was the key to salvation, Paul firmly and directly confronts their misconceptions. He makes it clear, once again, that we are saved through faith alone, not through any of our own human effort. He refers to Abraham, who was made right with God through faith and how that blessing is now extended to all of those who believe in Jesus.
Application: I don’t know about all of you, but I’m a do’er. Want a little boost of encouragement? I’m your girl. Need someone to complete a task efficiently and effectively? Give me a call. Looking for someone to cook you dinner? I have a sweet potato black bean soup served with homemade bread that you can’t resist. I might even throw in a batch of chocolate chip cookies because, well, baking is something to do that would make you happy and I already admitted to being a first-class do’er.
I know, I have a problem.
Interestingly enough, I never saw it as a problem. Up until recently, I assumed that my willingness to do things for others was because I was a naturally gracious, kind, and servant-hearted person. (I wish I were kidding.) But through some serious self-reflection, a fabulous counselor, and a heavy dose of Brene Brown, I eventually realized I wasn’t doing things for others because I was so wonderful; I was doing things for other people so that they would think I was wonderful.
I associated performance with worthiness – and I’d venture to guess I’m not the only one. And that unhealthy fixation on doing, on performing, on completing? It rears its ugly head in my relationship with God, convincing me that I need to do x and complete y and perform z to be worthy of God’s love and affection.
What a lie.
I’m not the only one to believe it – the Galatians had fallen into a similar trap. They once believed the Good News: that Jesus had come to die for their sins, and they were fully saved and restored into a relationship with their Heavenly Father by believing in Jesus alone.
But, as things often do, the message started to get twisted, and more and more of them began to think that believing in Jesus wasn’t enough – they needed to obey the law (in other words, do right things), too. Paul’s response? They’re complete fools.
“How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?” (v. 3)
When I read these words, I feel like God is speaking directly to me: “Abby, why are you trying to perform for me? Do you not understand that my love for you isn’t tied to what you do? You don’t get it. I love you no matter what. I don’t care what you do or don’t do, how far you run and hide or start to drown in your own guilt or shame, I won’t give up on you. I’m here for you. I love you, all of you, even the parts of you that are messed up and dirty and deeply broken. I love you anyways.”
When God looks at us, he doesn’t see our brokenness. He sees us just as he saw his own son: perfect, righteous, whole. Jesus rescued us.
“But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing.” (v. 13)
All of the suffering we should have experienced, all of the sin we should be accountable for, it’s gone. He took the curse of our sin – and in its place, gave us freedom, filled us with the Holy Spirit, and brought us into an unbreakable relationship with the most loving and gracious God.
No worthiness required.
As an act of trust in God’s faithful and relentless love, let’s practice the act of confession today. He can handle it. Every struggle, every failure, every shameful thing we try to hide – it doesn’t affect the way God he sees us. He won’t judge us; he’ll simply meet us there, he’ll be with us in it, and he’ll love us no matter what.
Prayer: God, I praise you today for who you are and how you see me. I pray I can not only know about your love today but experience it fully and deeply. I offer my sins to you today – digging deep, admitting the things I don’t want to admit, sharing the most shameful parts of myself – and trusting that you’ll meet me there, listen to me, and continue to love me relentlessly and fully. Amen.