When God promises us peace, he doesn’t mean that he will make all our problems go away. In fact, when Jesus told his disciples that he was giving them his peace, he also said, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
Paul reminds us that all those who have chosen to follow Christ have crucified the flesh, that is their old sinful natures, with its passions and desires. So, we shouldn’t be too preoccupied with what “I” want to do because “I” has been crucified! As Paul says in Gal 2, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
In Galatians, Paul repeatedly emphasizes that Christians are freed from the law. He goes to the extent of saying that if you seek to be justified by the law then you are severed from Christ (Gal 5:4). He even talks of having died to the law (Gal 2:19). Yet, here he asks the Galatians to serve one another through love, because by doing that they would fulfil the law! If they were free of the law, why should they care about fulfilling the law?
Just as trees don’t produce fruit overnight, we don’t become perfect human beings as soon as we begin following Christ. The growth of the fruit of the Spirit in us is a process. And while this process is going on, we experience the struggle described in Gal 5:17.
We’re children of God, joint heirs with Christ, as Paul says in Rom 8:17. But heirs can be disinherited! Being disinherited is usually a result of acting in a way that displeases one’s parents and brings shame to the family. Here Paul says that Christians who indulge in any of the listed behaviours or do things similar to these would lose their inheritance.
The disciples were with Jesus the past three and a half years. They gave up their sailing for fishing and followed Him. They gave up a life of routine and security they knew, for one of uncertainty and challenges. While followed Jesus in the hope of finding the truth and probably redemption, they were provided for – physical needs, spiritual needs, and emotional needs.
In a world of great authors, public speakers and preachers there is always pressure on a pastor or a bible teacher to up his game and to deliver standout sermons. Whenever we approach that time of sermon preparation there is that temptation to want to find some amazing new revelation from scripture that will just be a mind- blowing moment for our congregations.
A few weeks ago, I woke up to the news that an eighteen-year-old in my extended family had taken his own life. Reeling from this shocking, disturbing information, I was forced to shift my inward focus outward. I wondered if the reasons for one to take such a drastic step could simply be condensed to a fear of exams or an inability to bear rejection in a romantic relationship.
I never imagined that within a year my concept of church would be torn down and rebuilt. We moved from Los Angeles to San Jose in the summer of 2019. This was not our first move. My husband and I had moved across six cities and two continents in our twelve-year marriage.
This article and thought process has been triggered by a recent article published by respected magazine – Christianity Today – that raised sexual harassment allegations against a celebrated Christian leader and teacher. In the weeks prior to that, non-Christian / mainstream news-agencies had already started reporting on the incident.
When news of the coronavirus broke in March, I did not expect the shutdown to last for more than a month. I assumed life would bounce back to normal soon, and that my plans for the year would remain mostly intact. I was wrong.