“Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God (or rather, be known by God), how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world-whose slaves you want to be once more? You observe days and month and seasons and years! I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain.” Gal 4:8-10
This whole chapter seems to be teaching and admonishing: Don’t turn back to what you knew before Christ-pursue Christ!!
This is a chapter that I don’t think about much. No wonder, it doesn’t have those glib scripture promises I can take in a bite; memorize in a few minutes. Paul is making rhetorical questions, questions that the Galatian readers are supposed to ask themselves. How often do I ask these deep questions of myself? How often do I “examine [myself] to see if I am in the Faith?” (2nd Cor 13:5)
It takes me a lot of time to examine myself-mostly to keep from finding those issues that I can pat myself on the back for or polish my halo about. It is a tight rope to walk: Feeling secure in the Promise while at the same time doing the self-examination thing. Biblical fact is-I am to do both!!
What I read is the absence of forming habits. Certain folks in the Galatian church accepted Christ/became converted only to eschew the harder work of becoming a disciple and forming Godly habits. It became easier to fall back on what was “religiously accepted” by keeping observances of holiday and celebration but to let go of the daily grind of pursuing sanctification-of creating Godly and Biblical habits.
At the end of my days I don’t want the epitaph to be “He observed all the Things he was supposed to do” but like David: “He served the Purpose of God in his generation.” (Acts 13:36)
Father, this is stuff you are pounding in me: gently with the tap tap tap of a finishing hammer; sometimes crack crack crack of a sledge. Every morning when I awake, may I awake with the knowledge of celebrating You. Awaken dawn!! See the merciful and majestic Hand of God. I want to pursue You like a dying man thirsting after water. AMEN.