Galatians 5:7 – You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?
THEME OF THE DAY. BEING CHRIST TO OTHER CHRISTIANS. One of the traits of being a good brother and sister in the Lord is a willingness to do two things in our relationships with other Christians.
First, love them without conditions. This means we invest in them with acts of love without any thought of return or thanks. We simply be Christ to them. But that means we go beyond words in our relationships with other believers. Love acts. Love puts forth effort. Love invests in others. I cannot say, “I love you” and then be disconnected from your life. Professing love without the practice of love is shallow and hypocritical. And the danger of such a life is the ease of simply ignoring this command of the Lord and just “do” life wrapped up in our own little worlds, never investing in acts of love to our brothers and sisters in the faith.
The second thing we may do with our brothers and sisters is what we see in the example of the Apostle Paul to the Galatian believers. He invested in their spiritual lives. He was concerned about their spiritual condition. This is really an act of love. To spiritually care for the welfare of one another in the Body of Christ is healthy, needed, shows deep affection, and sets the foundation to build Biblically-grounded relationships with one another.
As we read Paul’s penetrating statement in today’s scripture, two things are present. First is the affirmation – “You were running well.” The great Apostle didn’t fail to encourage these believers. He acknowledged their diligence in running the race of faith. One of the most important ministries we have with one another is mutual encouragement. The Christian life is hard, draining, and often met with discouragements. Where do we go to be lifted? To the Lord. And what does He often use to lift the dark clouds over us? His Word through His people. Many Christians have been pulled out of the pit of depression and discouragement by other Christians forgetting themselves and reaching out with words of encouragement. I know. I have been the recipient of such ministry by other believers. I am sure you have also. The question is, “Are we being those instruments giving encouragement or only receivers of such ministry? This is a service all of us may do and that often.
The Apostle Paul does something else. He asked them a soul-searching question of spiritual accountability – “Who hindered you from obeying the truth?” For the sensitive Christian who may be struggling, even drifting into a backslidden condition, this question cuts deep and wide. And it does so because of the answer. No one hinders our walks with the Lord but ourselves. Not our spouses; not other people; not our environments. It is ourselves. We determine the quality of our relationship with the Lord Jesus; we as individuals. What Paul is doing is modeling one of the highest expressions of Christian love – spiritual investment in other believers by exercising spiritual accountability. Do we have people like that in our lives? Are there dear brothers and sisters who ask the hard question in our walks with the Lord? May we name people we let into our spiritual lives to hold us accountable in our walks? Or do we keep our relationships with other Christians at a safe and shallow distance? I hope each of us have people speaking into our lives with hard questions about our prayer lives, time in the Word, faithfulness to church, and pursuit of holiness. And I equally hope we are developing relationships with fellow Christians allowing us to be “Paul-like” to them in this area of spiritual accountability. Such relationships define Biblical fellowship. Christ called us to Himself as a community, as a body who are privileged and responsible for each other. Let’s strive to be like Him in our interactions with other Christians; a striving that affirms one another in love and a commitment to ask the hard questions out of love.
PRAYER: “Lord, forgive me when I try to blame others and circumstances when I fail to follow you.”
QUOTE: “The one person who is responsible for our walk with the Lord is who we see in the mirror.”