Doing Good to All
6 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. 4 Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, 5 for each one should carry their own load. 6 Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.
7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
Not Circumcision but the New Creation
11 See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!
12 Those who want to impress people by means of the flesh are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 Not even those who are circumcised keep the law, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast about your circumcision in the flesh. 14 May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which[a] the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation. 16 Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule—to[b] the Israel of God.
17 From now on, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.
18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.
As you read through this last chapter in the book of Galatians, what scripture did you feel tugging on your heart? Make note of your thoughts as you read it.
Let’s look at verse four for a moment because I found the application to be quite comforting. We see in this verse that we should not be comparing ourselves with others; that doing our best is what is most important. “Some point out others’ flaws in order to feel better about themselves. Others simply want reassurance that they are doing well. When you are tempted to compare, look at Jesus Christ. His example will inspire you when you fall short of your expectations.”
We see this often in scripture but in verse seven we read “a man reaps what he sows”. What scripture is telling us here is that our actions have outcomes, so if we are planting things of fleshly desire or of this world, that is what we will get back, but “if you plant to please God, you’ll reap joy and everlasting life.” And I don’t know about you but I certainly would prefer the latter. “What kinds of seeds are you sowing?”
The reason I chose verse nine for focus is because I think this has always been important but even more so now. Good deeds sometimes seems to go unnoticed. Good isn’t often seen or talked about in the news. But, good is felt, it leaves people with a feeling, you know what I’m talking about; that feeling when the person before you pays for your coffee in the drive thru. And in our world right now, even when we don’t want to do good because it may just seem worthless, we need to do good all the more. Hearts need to feel the goodness of God. Just like God is love, He is also all the fruits of the Spirit that we learned about yesterday and when people experience goodness, they are experiencing God. I often tell my boys, “God sees you” and I think that is what this scripture is saying, even if no one thanks us or acknowledges something good we do, God does and He is the one that matters most and he is the one who we will spend eternity with. What is a way that you have been feeling down about doing good? How could you change your not giving up posture into a pressing on one?
And lastly I want to touch on a few things our application had for us in verses 13-15: “The Bible in its entirety is our rule of faith and practice. We cannot pick and choose the mandates we will follow.” We aren’t saved by the laws of the Bible, but they are our guide for how the Lord desires for us to behave and reflect. It goes on to talk more about how the world is filled with things that are going to pressure us, that there are going to be toxic influences in our lives and we need to lean into God and ask him the help us 1. identify when our ways are shifting to the worlds and 2. help us to change our hearts back to Him. “How much do the interests of this world matter to you?” And the last thing that is touched on about these verses is the way God works in us. It isn’t from our outward appearance, he does heart work. What matters to God is our hearts, even if on the outside we look great, but our hearts still aren’t following Him, that’s where he want to do work, the areas we struggle. Maybe you found Christ later in life like me, I can clearly see the work of the Lord from who I was before meeting Him to who I am now. I thank God for the heart work. It isn’t always easy and the ways he still works in my heart is hard, but looking back, I can always see a transformation. Write about a time that you experienced this heart transformation from the Lord.
Let me just leave our time together with this one last quote, “If you believe in Jesus Christ, you have been set free. Instead of going back into some form of slavery, whether to legalism or sin, use your freedom to live for Christ and serve him as he desires.”
Heavenly Father, Lord, thank you for this book of your word. Thank you for transforming Paul so that he could help spread the news of you and your promises and the truth about our salvation. This letter was filled with so much for us to learn and we thank you for the promises that you ended with today. Help us to focus on helping other, to do good even when it goes unnoticed, to plant the seeds that please you so that we can reap the blessings. Help us to follow your word in full and to recognize when the world is influencing us and you are not. Help us to come before you even when we don’t want to do the heart work, help us to allow you to do it and Lord in this time, help us to not fall trap to anything that isn’t from you. In your mighty and powerful name we pray. AMEN!