Galatians 4:19 “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,”
While driving my daughter to work this morning, she remarked how she had forgotten her purse and things within needed for her day. She said not to worry, she would find a way to get around it. I thought of the many times my father did things for me. As I returned with her purse to her work, she said, “I love you Daddy!”
At age 24, I still want to have influence on my daughter. Words don’t often have the effect they once had, but actions done sacrificially and in love speak much to the love we desire to see formed in our children.
Paul wrote to the Galatians, with a passion and a love for them that they saw in action while he lived among them. He saw the subtilty of the enemy’s hand in those who came to teach another gospel. They were pursuing the Galatian people to pervert them:
Galatians 1:7 “Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.”
To bewitch them:
Galatians 3:1 “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?”
To entangle them:
Galatians 5:1 “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”
And lastly, to hinder them:
Galatians 5:7 “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?”
So, why is the enemy so bent on destroying them? If Paul’s goal is fulfilled, there would be many examples of the Lord Jesus Christ running around making disciples, building churches and furthering the kingdom. The job of seeing one formed in the image of Christ first starts personally; within.
If Christ be not formed in me, then I will know nothing of what it is I am trying to teach, to train, to mentor. The struggles, the pitfalls, the stumbling blocks and the trials that are needed to bring us to that place of humility, utter abandonment and sacrifice to totally allow Christ to live His life through us:
Galatians 2:20 “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
I don’t know about you, but is easier to hold to the things of the flesh, than to those of the Spirit. It is easier to fall into routines of worldly behavior than to live like Christ. Paul explained it in Romans 7:
Romans 7:18 “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.”
In that whole passage (verses 14-25), he declares to the church in Rome, his will to want to do right is betrayed by his flesh’s desire to do wrong. He describes the battle that each man faces. He ends with the solution:
Romans 7:25 “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”
Every battle you and I will face is won or lost in our mind.
Proverbs 23:7 “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…”
When our thought life is brought into captivity, we can then grow as the Holy Spirit would lead us into being more like Jesus.
2 Corinthians 10:5-6 “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.”
The ‘readiness to revenge all disobedience‘ must come from a commitment we make to God and ourself to stay clean; to stay pure, to stay right and to walk as would please the One who saved us. Once we reach that within ourselves, we can help others.
One need not come to a place where they ‘arrive’ at some spiritual level before engaging in discipling others, but be warned:
1 Corinthians 9:27 “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”
‘Do as I say, don’t do as I do’ won’t work. An example in action is what we are to be to those whom we teach and preach. Paul was able to say, “until Christ be formed in you.” because he was committed to the same. It is our fleshly nature to find some sense of ‘moderation’ when it comes to sacrificial commitment.
We want to work within our comfort zone. We want control of how much we sacrifice and when. We become the judge of just what it is we are going to give back to our Savior, when His example shows a complete and utter abandonment of His will to that of the Father.
Luke 22:42 “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”
Christ formed in me means take the call – don’t let it got to voicemail. Christ formed in me means cancel the personal plans and make that visit. Christ formed in me means allowing God to rearrange my schedule for things He has gifted me to do for others.
The one, true gift I believe we can give to God this Christmas, is our heart and our life.
Proverbs 23:26 “My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.”