Scripture: Galatians 4:1-31
Observation: Paul reiterates that we are now children of God through our faith in his son, Jesus. Therefore, he questions why the Galatians are going back and acting as if they were still slaves. He reflects on the story of Abraham and how God promised him a child. When his wife Sarah had issues with conceiving, Abraham tried to have a child through his own human efforts. He had a son with his slave, Hagar, but that son (Ishamel) was not the son God had promised Abraham. Eventually, Abraham and Sarah conceived a son named Isaac. Paul uses this story to show the Galatians the difference between those who are born through God’s promise and his spirit (Isaac) and those who believe keeping the law through their own human efforts will get them to God (Ishamel).
Application: When I find something new that I love, I can’t get enough of it. A TV show, a book series, a new clothing line, a breakfast recipe, a podcast – once I discover something with something, I go hardcore – I eat it, watch it, buy it, listen to it, seek it until I can’t possibly eat, watch, buy, listen to, or seek it out any longer.
My current “can’t get enough of” list:
- These jeans – Ladies, they are the best $35 you will ever spend in your entire life. They look fancy and slimming and perfect, but they’re basically socially acceptable stretchy sweatpants. YES PLEASE.
- This album – “Peace Be Still” is my current jam.
- These homemade granola bars – I’ve made them every week for the last two years. I wish I was joking.
- These pumpkin energy balls – I’m beyond obsessed. I have them stockpiled in my freezer. (If you’re wondering, could she be any more basic? The answer is no.)
- Enneagram – Please don’t even try to have a conversation with me about self-awareness, personality, or growth if you don’t want to talk about the Enneagram. I can’t even do it.
But those aren’t the only things I can’t get enough of. If I’m completely honest, I have another list of things I’m desperately attached to:
- Affirmation so that I can feel secure
- Acceptance so that I can feel safe
- Affection so that I can feel worthy
- Belonging so that I can feel relationally connected
Affirmation, acceptance, affection, belonging –- they’re all worthy desires until I begin to desire them more than I desire God. And then I become a slave: I’m enslaved by my insatiable need to perform, to get people’s attention, to do what they want, to please. I am no longer free.
Unfortunately, I think I would have fit right in with the Galatians. I’m obsessed with connecting my worth to what I do. I want to believe that God accepts me – truly and completely – because of who I am, not what I do, but there’s a nagging part of me that whispers: “You’re not worthy unless you’re doing.”
Have you heard that voice? I think this is what Paul would say to us:
“God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law [doing the right thing] so that he could adopt us as his very own children. And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, ‘Abba, Father.’” (v.5-6)
When we put our faith in Jesus, we become sons and daughters. We’re no longer enslaved to what others think of us or the value they place on us. We’re no longer defined by what we do. We are defined by the one who lives in us. And here’s who he says we are:
“Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.” (v. 7)
Now that’s a list worth obsessed over.
Prayer: God, thank you for setting me free from all the desires that try to control me, especially the affirmation of others. Thank you for changing me – for taking me from slave to beloved child. I pray you help me walk in freedom today. Amen.