Tag Archive for: Galatians

As a Jesus follower, you have been called and gifted to be a Christ-centered leader. You have a responsibility to live and lead as God has created you to live and lead. The question is, “What does it mean to live and lead as a Christ-centered leader?

The Role of a Christ-Centered Leader

Your first and primary task is to be faithful to Jesus. So, your first task is not a political or social one, though you will certainly make an impact politically and socially. Your first task is to be shaped by God’s love so you can be who God created you to be. It is to live and be the truth of God’s love in everyday situations and circumstances.

Your goal is not success in terms of bigger and better or more people means more money. Your goal is to demonstrate that Jesus makes possible a new order based not upon what works or competing self-interest, but upon the truth of God’s love.

Living Out God’s Love in Everyday Situations

This is not a withdrawal from the world. God’s love invites, leads, and drives you into the world to work for justice and peace. You must take seriously the political processes that change systems and structures. You develop relationships with political leaders and assist them in working for the common good.

But you don’t put your hope in the political systems that serve self-interest or in societal norms of personal preference. As you live and lead you offer an invitation to the people entrusted to your care to confront the world. In obedience to Jesus’ invitation, you are first focused upon who you are by responding to, “Come unto me,” and “Do this in remembrance of me,” and then upon living as you have been created to live, “Follow me” and “Go into all the world.”

Balancing Belief and Behavior

As a leader of the people of God, you serve the church and the community. Your service is not in running errands but in providing light. You lead to provide an imaginative alternative to the culture. As you model leadership, you are providing hope for people who are struggling to create the structures and alternatives that the world cannot achieve through governmental power of self-interest.

You might wonder if your leading is worth the hassle. Here is where your courageous leadership comes in. Keep your eyes, heart, and mind on Jesus. When you feel your living and leading are ineffective, remember that Jesus appeared ineffective in the world. Then remember that his power was the truth of the nature of God and not power, strength, and violence within the culture.

Modeling Forgiveness and Reconciliation

Modeling God’s love will always be more radical than the world can provide. Legislation cannot serve the poorest and most powerless. The best policies can do is to give the less powerful a little more power and call it justice. The world cannot give dignity to the young, the old, the sick, the disabled, the marginalized. All it can do is hand out a few meager rights and call it compassion.

For the poorest of the poor and the sickest of the sick, there must be hope that is not dependent upon public policy but upon the promise that God’s love is stronger than death, and that nothing can separate them or any of us from the love of God in Jesus Christ. You living into your call and giftedness helps bring that about.

As a Christ-centered leader, your living and loving help develop and provide a radical hope that forms a community of faith around the truth of God’s love as experienced in and through Jesus.

So first be faithful to Jesus.

Putting Faith into Everyday Action

Your second task is to live your faith in everyday relationships, encounters, situations, and circumstances. It is important to put belief and behavior together. As a leader influenced by John Wesley, you balance personal piety and social holiness.

In the scripture, proper behavior is a response to faith in God who is acting on your behalf. God’s requirements are always preceded by God’s actions. In the Old Testament, belief and behavior are brought together, “Hear O Israel: The Lord your God is one Lord” (Deuteronomy 6:4). That is the belief. Then follows the response: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with your might” (Deuteronomy 6:5). So, to be faithful to Jesus is to live your faith in everyday relationships, encounters, situations, and circumstances.

The Ten Commandments begin with the words, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (Exodus 20:2). That is faith and belief. The commandments represent appropriate behavior in response to God’s acts of deliverance from slavery in Egypt.

The Good News in the New Testament

In good news according to Mark, Jesus walked along the lakeside announcing, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near” (Mark 1:15). That was an invitation to faith. It was an invitation to believe that God was bringing a new world. Then comes the appropriate response, “Repent, and believe in the good news” (Mark 1:15). All of Jesus’ demands, from “Come follow me” to “Take up your cross,” from “Go sell all you have and give to the poor” to “Turn the other cheek and go the second mile” are rooted in God’s invitation to love.

Paul in his letter to the Galatians writes, “For freedom Christ has set us free” (Galatians 5:1). That is belief. Jesus has set us free. Then comes the invitation to respond, “Stand firm, therefore and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery…For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters” (Galatians 5:1, 13). Then Paul offers the expected behavior, “Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another” (Galatians 5:13). So, to be faithful to Jesus is to live your faith in everyday situations and circumstances.

Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them” (II Corinthians 5:19). God acted in Jesus to reconcile us to God, to our true selves, and to others. In other words, God has acted in Jesus so we can be who God created us to be. The question is, what is the behavior to be balanced with this good news? Paul answers the questions for us, “And entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So, we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us” (II Corinthians 5:19-20). Your response to God’s reconciling love is to model through your leading the gifts of forgiveness and reconciliation.

The Leadership Role of Gratitude

At the heart of your faith and action is gratitude for God’s faith in you. Gratitude transforms obedience from a dreaded duty to a joyful expression of love. We simply enjoy doing what we do out of gratitude and love.

I remember a friend of mine telling me about his wife being on a business trip and what his children did to surprise her. On the day she was to return, my friend said he tried to persuade his son and daughter to help him clean the house before she arrived. He said they grumbled and procrastinated because they had other things to do.

As he served them their lunch, he said to them, “You know, Mom has been very good to us. She works hard and long, and she loves us very much. She will come in the door tonight with a hug and a gift for each of us. That is who she is. We are lucky to be loved so much. Why don’t we give her something as a gift? Let’s give her a clean house.” The children agreed. After lunch, they helped clean the house and even had fun making a game out of it.

I remember thinking that a clean house became a grateful response to a loving parent. That is behavior linked to belief. What a beautiful expression of faith in Jesus lived out in everyday situations and circumstances. That is what it means to lead as a Christ-centered leader. First you are faithful to Jesus, and you live your faith in everyday relationships, encounters, situations, and circumstances.

The Impact of Leadership

As a Christ-centered leader, why do you put your faith in Jesus into everyday action?

Several years ago, I read a story of a Canadian photographer by the name of Yousaf Karsh. The only portrait he took of a person’s back was taken of Pablo Casals in a small French Abbey in 1954. Karsh said he was setting up his equipment when Casals began playing Bach on his cello. Karsh was so taken by the music that he said he almost forgot why he was there. He took his portrait of Casals with the musician bent over his cello, frozen in time against the plain stone wall of the chapel. Karsh said that he took it that way to capture the loneliness of the truly great artists and the loneliness of the exile.

You are God’s Masterpiece

Years later, when the portrait was on exhibit in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, another old man came day after day and stood for long periods of time in front of the portrait. The Curator of the Museum noticed him, and when his curiosity got the best of him, he went over, tapped the man on the shoulder, and asked him why he stood so long before the picture. The old man, with obvious irritation, turned toward the curator and said, “Hush, young man. Can’t you see I’m listening to the music!”

Karsh watched Casals play his cello and presented a picture. The old man, looking at that picture, could hear the music.

You have been called and gifted to be a Christ-centered leader. You have a responsibility to live and lead as God has created you to live and lead. As a leader, you are God’s model, God’s picture, God’s music of what God wants your community, your neighborhood, your city to be.

As a Christ-centered leader, when you live and lead with God’s love you provide a radical hope all people need. Your music, your leadership, will permeate the whole of life and people will listen to you and follow you to Jesus.

Remember, who you are is how you lead!

Character is essential in leadership. Your competency determines what you can do. Your commitment determines what you want to do. But your character determines what you will do. It shapes how you engage the world around you, what you notice, what you reinforce, who you engage in conversation, what you value, and what you choose to act on. The list goes on. 

There are more books on leadership that focus on style than on character. It seems that we are more interested in leaders who can get us what we want rather than leaders who model the life we need to live. At times we act as if character is old-fashioned and out of date. At other times we are reluctant to discuss character because we cannot measure it objectively.   

Failure of Character

When mistakes are made in leadership, we usually look first at a leader’s shortcomings in abilities and gifts, when the root cause is a failing of character.  A lack of self-awareness is rooted in character. Not being willing to listen to others because of the perception it will undermine your leadership is a problem of character. The fear of making decisions reflects character. Selective truth-telling is a measure of character. 

On a more positive note, challenging decisions made by others, because they are morally or ethically wrong, requires character. Dealing with prejudiced and unfair behaviors by others requires character. Creating a culture of constructive disagreement so others can challenge your decisions without fear of consequences requires character. Truthtelling requires character. 

Christ-Centered Leadership Necessitates Character

Character is essential to leadership, especially Christ-centered leadership. Let’s look at what the apostle Paul says about character.

Let’s use the pattern of READ, REFLECT, RESPOND, and RETURN as a way of examining one aspect of character in the scripture. 

READ: Galatians 5:16-25  

Focus on the scripture verses in italics.

Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law. Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 

By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. And those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.

Reflect

Paul names nine qualities of character known as the “Fruit of the Spirit.”  These qualities can be divided into three categories: relationship with God, relationship with others, and relationship with yourself.

Without these qualities, you cannot and will not reflect who God has created you to be as a leader. The Fruit of the Spirit reflects the characteristics of God in human form. Ultimately revealed in Jesus, these are the characteristics of Christ-centered leaders. Your character as a leader produces this fruit.

Relationship with God

The first category is love, joy, and peace.

Love:  This is agape. It means unconquerable benevolence.  No matter what a person might do to you by way of insult, injury, or humiliation, you never seek anything other than his or her highest good.  It is a feeling of the mind as much as it is of the heart; it concerns the will just as much as it does the emotions.  It describes the effort of seeking the best for all people, even for those who seek the worst for you.

Joy:  This shows your trust in God. It means to know God as the God of all circumstances.  You are living into who God created you to be regardless of life situation or setting. Being rooted in God, joy is not upon the happenings or consequences in your life. It is seeing the situations of life as opportunities for trusting God

Peace:  This is Shalom. It means everything that makes for a person’s highest good.  It is more than the absence of conflict or trouble.  It is the calmness of heart and mind, which comes from the all-pervading consciousness that your life is in the hands of God. It is being at one with God, yourself, and others. 

Relationship with Others

The second category is patience, kindness, and generosity. 

Patience:  This is an action-focused upon people rather than circumstances. It means to overlook the inconveniences of the world in regard to people.  It is an attitude, which leads us to deal with others with love, forgiveness, and long-suffering, just as God in Jesus has dealt with us.  It also means to be disciplined in regard to wants or desires.

Kindness:  Again, this is an action focused on people. It means to love and care for people with the same love and care God in Christ has loved and cared for you. It reveals your inner life because kindness is the integration of the inner character and the outward expression of your life in relationship to others. You are making the way easier because you are related to the people around you.

Generosity (goodness): It means you see people doing the best they can in every situation and circumstance. Your actions reveal the love of God to the point that those around you who are comfortable in their apathy, unconcern, and insensitivity are afflicted by your very presence, and those who are afflicted by the pains and problems of life will be comforted by your same presence.  It refers to the life of a person who can be caring and strong at the same time.  

Relationship with Yourself

The third category is faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. 

Faithfulness:  This means you are trustworthy or reliable.  It means keeping your promises and being dependable.

Gentleness:  This is a matter of self-awareness. It means you know yourself to the point that you are pointing others to God as you love and care for them. You are teachable and considerate. And because who you are grows out of your relationship with God, humility is revealed in the way you relate to and treat others.

Self-control:  This means you control desires and wants. You control yourself to the point that you are fit to be the leader of others. As a leader, it is easy to step out of the character of God and into the passions of your own heart. Your passion (fallen nature) is often opposed to the passion of God (your true created nature). 

To be led by the Spirit is to be obedient to God’s plan and purpose for your life. Paul knew within himself the struggle to be who God had created him to be. He knew the distinction between the works of the flesh (his own desires) and the fruit of the Spirit (God’s desires) through his own experience.  His life had been in chaos.  His sinful nature in rebellion against God made him at war even with himself and split his life into fragmentary deeds.  Then came the reconciling love of Christ, integrating his life with God and with others. It is all centered on the unifying love of Christ. 

Evidence of Integrity

The evidence of your integrity (joining of inner life and outer life) is shown in your obedience to the work of the Holy Spirit in your life.  The evidence of the character of God in your life and leadership is called “The Fruit of the Spirit.”  

The fruit of the Spirit is the outward expression of Christ dwelling within you.  Powerfully and surely the Spirit works.  Sometimes dramatically, sometimes slowly, and most times imperceptibly, the Spirit works in your life and is seen in your relationships. 

Character is essential to leadership, especially Christ-centered leadership. There is much more, but this lays a partial foundation for understanding the importance of character in leaders. 

Respond

There once was a woman who had a deep desire for peace in the world as well as in her life. She became frustrated because both seemed out of her reach. The world seemed to be falling apart and her personal life wasn’t that great either. 

One day while shopping, she noticed a new and different store. One she had not seen before. She stepped inside and was surprised to see Jesus behind the counter. She knew it was Jesus because he looked just like the paintings she had seen in museums and in devotional books. After several glances at him, she got the nerve to ask him, “Excuse me, but are you Jesus?” 

“I am,” he replied. 

“Do you work here?” she asked. 

“In a way; I own the store.” 

“Oh, what do you sell here?” 

Jesus replied, “Just about everything.  Feel free to walk up and down the aisles, make a list, see what it is you want, and then come back and I’ll see what I can do for you.” 

Well, she did just that. She walked up and down the aisles, writing furiously. She made her list: Peace on earth, no war, guidelines for guns; Peace in families, harmony, no dissension; Food for the hungry and housing for the homeless; and Resources for those in poverty. She found honesty and hope, as well as care and compassion. She was excited to see many of the things she wanted for her community and for the world.

By the time she got back to the counter, she had an extensive list. She hands her list to Jesus. He looked it over, smiled, and said, “No problem.” 

He bent down behind the counter, picked out several seed packets, stood up, and laid the packets on the counter. 

“Seed packets,” Jesus answered. “This is a catalog store.” 

“You mean I don’t get the finished product?” 

“No, this is a place of vision and dreams. You come and see what it looks like, and I will give you the seeds. You go home and plant the seeds. You care for them and nurture them to help them grow. Someday someone else will reap the benefits of you planting and nurturing the seeds.”  

The woman was disappointed, as well as a little put off. She turned to the person behind her in line and asked, “Do you believe what he just said? Are you going to do that? Are you going to plant the seeds so someone else can reap the benefits? Are you going to do that?”

Character is revealed by your leadership.  

“…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…”

 Who you are is how you lead!

Return

Give God thanks for the people you met today. In what situations did you feel you were making decisions based on character? With whom was your character challenged? How did you respond? How did you assist others in developing the character of their lives? Who is helping you grow in character? What will you do differently tomorrow as a leader? Ask God to give you the faith to be the leader God has created you to be.  

What happened to our study on Galatians? Is it over already?

I must confess, I miss the daily readings and reflections. Over the past six weeks, I have reflected seriously on my life, my ministry as a leader in the church, and the legacy I am leaving behind. And when I say legacy, I am not talking only about my years of ministry within the United Methodist Church but what am I leaving behind for my granddaughters, for my friends, and for the world?

I have reached an age in my life where I ask myself a lot of questions. The Galatians study guided me in asking some of those questions. Questions I have been reluctant to face. Questions like: “For whom have I been living my life?” “What do I have to show for my life and ministry?” “What of significance am I leaving behind?”

Thy Will Be Done

As I reflected upon Paul’s contrast between freedom as self-indulgence with freedom as walking in the life of the Spirit, I realized that much of my life and ministry have been focused upon me and my success. As a leader, I have been focused more on my capacity to lead as it is related to my career and not as much upon my character as it is related to my capacity to lead. Would you believe that sobering thought leads me to conclude that the way I live and work shapes the destiny I receive and the legacy leave?

C.S. Lewis wrote, “There are only two kinds of people in the end; those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’” You and I know what leaders look like when they chose to do things their own way, alone, relying upon their own capacity. That is not how I want to be remembered.

So, I have been thinking. What would it take to be a leader who first develops relationships of vulnerability and trust, who aligns with truth, and who pays the price of living a life of integrity? Will we accept only that which we can accomplish on our own? Or will we begin to focus more upon the character shaped by God in Christ, trusting God to lead us to a destiny far greater than we can imagine?

Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote, “each of us must decide whether we will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.” The latter comes naturally. The former comes supernaturally. We only live in service and care of others when we cease living solely for ourselves.

Helping Others Win

A few years ago, at the Seattle Special Olympics, nine contestants, all with physical or mental disabilities, assembled at the starting line for the hundred-yard dash. At the sound of the gun, they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with a desire to run the race to the finish. All, that is, except one little boy, who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled over a couple of times, and began to cry. The others slowed down and looked back. Then, they stopped, turned around, and went back. All eight of them. One little girl bent over, kissed the fallen boy, and said, “This will make it better.” A couple of runners helped the boy to his feet, then, all nine linked arms and walked together to the finish line. Everyone in the stadium stood and applauded. The cheering went on for several minutes.

This story always stirs something deep inside of me. I think part of it is related to hearing about ordinary people doing extraordinary things. But, another part hits the core of my being. Deep down in my heart, I know that helping others win matters far more than my hollow victories. Just like the children, changing my course requires me to pause and hear the cries of those around me. What I have learned is, I can only change my course when I am willing to pause and hear the cry within my own heart. Maybe that is the difficulty, being authentic, honest, and transparent.

What a Legacy Transforming Mission

Confirmation from Studying Galatians

So, the study on Galatians reaffirmed a couple of things for me. First, our character, who we are matters more than what we do. Second, for whom we care matters more than how we care.

As I look back upon my life and ministry, upon who I have become and upon whom I have served, I see that it has exposed the intent of my living. Career and character are not mutually exclusive, but which I choose will determine the destiny I receive and the legacy I leave.

There is a story of a woman who had a dream of wandering into a shop at the mall. She found Jesus behind the counter. He said to her, “You can have anything your heart desires.” Surprised but pleased, she asked Jesus for love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, happiness, wisdom, and freedom from fear. Then she added, “Not just for me, but for the whole world.”

Jesus smiled and said, “I think you misunderstood me. We don’t sell fruit here, we only sell seeds.”

So, what seeds am I planting? What am I leaving behind?

How Do You Want to Be Remembered?

Bill Thrall, Bruce McNicol, and Ken McElrath, in their book The Ascent of a Leader, write, “The seed of destiny within each of us awaits the day when it will bear fruit in the lives of others. It awaits the fertile soil of community. It awaits an environment of grace…In the making of our own lives, some choices must inevitably be left to the Master. But God leaves many of the choices to us. We participate in the creation of our own lives and legacies.”

In and through the daily readings and reflections, I have become more focused upon the life and legacy I want to leave behind. In Christ, I have crucified my self-indulgence and I live in the Spirit. So, if I live in the Spirit, let me live the life of love.

Now, that is how I want to be remembered.

 

 

 

 

Read


Review Galatians 6

Reflect

Chapter 6 is a continuation of Paul’s ethical teaching. By walking in the Spirit, we are free to live out acts of Christian love in everyday life situations. Because we belong to Christ and live out our responsibility as Christians, we are identified by the fruit of the Spirit. It is in the fruit we produce that we witness to who governs our lives. It is in and through our relationships that we live out our individual responsibility before God and our shared responsibility for each other in the congregation and the community.

Respond

Follow Jesus

You did it! For six weeks, you journeyed through reading, reflecting, and responding to God. While this journey may be ending, your journey with Christ continues. Consider how the next six weeks of your life with Christ will continue to help you grow in grace and bear the fruit of the spirit. Celebrate God’s grace at work in your life and the life of the local church. For forty-two days you’ve focused on following Jesus. Our encouragement is simple: Keep going!

Pray

Thank you, Lord. Thank you for the journey through Galatians. Thank you for speaking to me and through me and helping me to grow to become more like you. May all that I’ve experienced be used for your glory and the good of your people. Amen.

Celebrate

Where did you experience God’s grace today?

We’re celebrating each one of you. Thank you for the privilege of Following Jesus Every Day with you. Whether you responded daily on social media or never shared your response, we give God thanks for the journey of faith you’ve experienced. Know of our continued prayers for you and the ministry of the church. May the grace you experienced through the study of Galatians continue to guide you.

Grace and peace to you!

Use a notebook to record your responses. Share your celebrations in the comments below or in the Facebook group (You’ll find a link to request to join in your confirmation email. Not registered? Sign-up here.)

 

Galatians 6 Transforming Mission

Extra Thoughts

If you haven’t taken a moment to review the “Overview of Following Jesus Every Day: Galatians,” please do so. You’ll find a few tips that will help you start this journey.

Read

Galatians 6:17-18

Paul bore the scars of his missionary experience. He not only proclaimed the message of the cross; it was imprinted on his body. We may not be called upon to produce the marks Paul could produce, but there are marks which identify us.

Reflect

If we belong to Christ we are branded. Within the shared life of the people of God, the mark is the fruit of the Spirit. And in that body, the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ is received and shared. What mark identifies you as a follower of Jesus? As you journeyed through Galatians, how has that mark helped you identify God’s grace?

Respond

Follow Jesus

Paul points to the identifying mark of love throughout Galatians. May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ guide your words, actions, and intentions today.

Pray

Jesus, all glory and honor are yours. Thank you for loving me for who I am and not leaving me where I am. Use me today to share your love with others. Amen.

Celebrate

Where did Christ’s love, the mark of the Spirit, show up in your life today?

Use a notebook to record your responses. Share your celebrations in the comments below or in the Facebook group (You’ll find a link to request to join in your confirmation email. Not registered? Sign-up here.)

 

Galatians 6 Prayers Transforming Mission

Extra Thoughts

If you haven’t taken a moment to review the “Overview of Following Jesus Every Day: Galatians,” please do so. You’ll find a few tips that will help you start this journey.

Read

Galatians 6:14-16

The old world was marked by distinctions and separation. One received one’s identity by polarized categories: Jew or Gentile, law-keeper or law-ignorer, male or female, slave or free.  The new world that came into being in Jesus Christ overcame the law and circumcision. It also overcame non-law and non-circumcision, religion and non-religion.

Reflect

Pay special attention today to the new thing(s) God is doing in your midst. What transformation are you and the community around you experiencing?

Respond

Follow Jesus

Ask your spouse or friend, “What new thing is happening in your life?” Perhaps you’ll also be able to speak to where you see the transformation happening in your life.

Pray

God you are making all things new. I praise you for the Spirit’s work in my life and the lives of the people I love. Continue to help us grow in grace. Amen.

Celebrate

What new thing is God doing in the midst of your life and the lives of others? What new thing did you hear about today?

Use a notebook to record your responses. Share your celebrations in the comments below or in the Facebook group (You’ll find a link to request to join in your confirmation email. Not registered? Sign-up here.)

 

Galatians 6 prayers Transforming Mission

Extra Thoughts

If you haven’t taken a moment to review the “Overview of Following Jesus Every Day: Galatians,” please do so. You’ll find a few tips that will help you start this journey.

Read

Galatians 6:11-13

Although Paul dictated his letters, he usually wrote a personal note at the end of the letter.  His concluding words are not warm and personal. Just as he began without thanksgiving, so he concludes without personal warmth or mentioning any names. Instead, he includes a summary of the message of the letter.

Reflect

Throughout Galatians, we’ve heard Paul contrast the law and grace. He offers one final reminder today that circumcision does not make someone faithful. Today, pay attention to the places in your life where you’re doing something simply to “look good” or seeking the approval of others.

Respond

Follow Jesus

Consider your relationships with family, friends, colleagues, the congregation and your local community. Which relationship(s) are inclined to be directed by rules? Which relationship(s) are inclined to be directed by grace? What makes the difference?

Pray

Jesus, fill me with grace. Help me to see the people I meet as individuals who are growing in grace. May all that I say and do today bring you glory and work for the good of the people I meet. Amen.

Celebrate

Where did you see, experience, and/or embody grace today?

Use a notebook to record your responses. Share your celebrations in the comments below or in the Facebook group (You’ll find a link to request to join in your confirmation email. Not registered? Sign-up here.)

 

Galatians 6 Prayers Transforming Mission

Extra Thoughts

If you haven’t taken a moment to review the “Overview of Following Jesus Every Day: Galatians,” please do so. You’ll find a few tips that will help you start this journey.

Read

Galatians 6:9-10

Paul urges mutual care for those in the family of faith. Although the family of faith includes members of the Christian community, Christian concern is not limited to taking care of the needs of church members. It is directed to all.

Reflect

The church is in the world to represent God’s care for the whole world, whether or not the world responds. Given your responsibilities today, when will you offer care for someone else? Consider the unscheduled times of your day as an opportunity to reach out to someone who needs encouragement or care.

Respond

Follow Jesus

Who in your life and community needs encouragement or care today? Who is on your heart? Offer the person to God in prayer. Seek to understand how you can respond today. Then, do it!

Pray

Lord Jesus, you know the needs of the people around me. Use me to be an instrument of loving-kindness today and always. Amen.

Celebrate

Who encouraged you today? Who did you encourage or offer care to today?

Use a notebook to record your responses. Share your celebrations in the comments below or in the Facebook group (You’ll find a link to request to join in your confirmation email. Not registered? Sign-up here.)

 

Galatians 6 Transforming Mission

Extra Thoughts

If you haven’t taken a moment to review the “Overview of Following Jesus Every Day: Galatians,” please do so. You’ll find a few tips that will help you start this journey.

Read

Galatians 6:6-8

Paul is reminding the Galatians, and us, the harvest is relevant to both our spiritual development and describes our destiny.

Reflect

Daily life involves a constant choice between what vies for our attention. Be mindful that we pattern our lives and mold our character by the choices we make.Consider what you’re planting and harvesting. Do your choices focus on the selfless character of Christ? If no, what may need to change?

Respond

Follow Jesus

Consider your responsibilities today. What seeds can you plant in your life and the lives of others today?

Pray

Holy God, I confess some days I scatter seeds, some days I hoard seeds, and some days I plant seeds with love. Use me today to plant seeds that will yield a harvest of love in my life and our community. Amen.

Celebrate

What seeds did you or others plant today?

Use a notebook to record your responses. Share your celebrations in the comments below or in the Facebook group (You’ll find a link to request to join in your confirmation email. Not registered? Sign-up here.)

 

Galatians 6 Transforming Mission

Extra Thoughts

If you haven’t taken a moment to review the “Overview of Following Jesus Every Day: Galatians,” please do so. You’ll find a few tips that will help you start this journey.

Read

Galatians 5:24-26

Paul reviews his theological foundation as it supports his ethical living.

Reflect

In Christ, we have crucified our self-indulgence. In Christ, we live in the Spirit.  So, if we live in the Spirit, let us live the life of love. And now you know why we’ve been practicing this all week!

Respond

Follow Jesus

Share God’s love today with someone who is hurting (physically, emotionally, and or/ spiritually). Bear the fruit of love in a hurting world. If you’ve already responded in this way throughout the week, respond as God leads you today.

Pray

God, it is so easy to say, “live a life of love” and so much harder to do it. Show me your will and your ways so I can be more loving today than I was yesterday. Amen.

Celebrate

How did you share God’s love today? Was it a challenge or did it come easy?

Use a notebook to record your responses. Share your celebrations in the comments below or in the Facebook group (You’ll find a link to request to join in your confirmation email. Not registered? Sign-up here.)

Galatians 5 Transforming Mission

 

Extra Thoughts

If you haven’t taken a moment to review the “Overview of Following Jesus Every Day: Galatians,” please do so. You’ll find a few tips that will help you start this journey.