The #bible is of urgent relevance today.
Galatians 1:1 “Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead…”
Paul’s letter to the church in Galatia is one of urgent relevance to us today. His message in this letter can be summed up in two points: 1) The cross of Christ is the only way one can get right with God, and 2) The Spirit of Christ is the only way one can obey God. There is almost a compassionate rage in the undertone of this letter. Paul is ardently concerned for his readers’ misinterpretation and misinformation regarding the Gospel and the way they are living their lives in light of these misinterpretations. He begins by asserting that his authority is not merely from man, but from God. The word “apostle” literally means “one who is sent.” In its general usage, an “apostle” can be one who is sent by a church on a mission. (2 Corinthians 8:23; Philippians 2:25) However, Paul is referring to his being an apostle in a particular sense, the sense in which he was commissioned by Jesus, Himself. He had seen the face of Jesus and had been sent out by Him. (Acts 9:1-22; 1 Corinthians 9:1, 15:8-9; 2 Corinthians 1:1) His authority, therefore, was directly from our Lord, which make his urgent pleas within this message extremely important today, as well. As we spend the next days together in study of this letter, may we do so in light of the Apostle Paul’s authority to speak to us in this manner as well as to the extraordinarily relevant and immediate nature of his warnings.
Study/Meditation: In what ways do you think the message of the Gospel has been misinterpreted today? How do you think the Apostle Paul would address many in today’s churches?
*Father, help me to see all of the truths in this great letter that apply to me and my life as I study it. To You be all glory and honor and praise. Amen.
Focal Passage- James 4:13-17
James 4:16 “As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.”
James is still talking about planning in this verse, but he is not saying that there is anything wrong with it. As stated earlier, the Bible very clearly mandates that we should plan for both our families and our futures. There is also nothing wrong with saying things like “I’m going to do this” or “I plan on doing that.” It is not a sin to be driven or purposeful in one’s life. However, the heart will betray if those things become sin when we examine our motivations for them. I must ask myself if my plans have a foundation that is God-centered or am I making them as if I were in charge. I am utterly dependent on God. To plan and prepare as if I’m not is arrogant, boastful, and therefore sinful. James’ warning must keep us mindful of where our hearts lie as we make plans for this lifetime.
Study/Meditation: Timothy wrote in his first letter that the person who does not plan for his family is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8) How must you reconcile this teaching with James’ in his letter?
*Father, thank You for creating me the way that You did. Help me to see the difference between God-honoring plans and those that are me-centered. Forgive me when I stray to the second. Amen.
Focal Passage- James 4:13-17
James 4:14b-15 “What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’”
George Bernard Shaw observed, “The statistics on death are quite impressive. One out of one people die.” Life on this earth is temporary, and we aren’t promised even the next breath of air. An attitude that does not acquiesce to God’s complete sovereignty over all things, including our breathing, is one born of ignorance and pride. It’s important that we keep in mind in all that we do that it is God who orchestrates and allows it. It is He who is in charge, not us, and we demonstrate our knowledge of this fact in our hearts and in our attitudes about yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Keeping our minds set on “if the Lord wills” is displaying an attitude that submits to His authority over all things in our lives.
Study/Meditation: How are you comforted by these verses in James’ letter? How might you better display this submissive attitude to God?
*Father, I acknowledge Your sovereignty and authority over my life and over all things. Forgive me when I attempt to go about my life as if this wasn’t true and help me to keep it ever-present in my heart. Amen.
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