AUDIENCE OF ONE: IS THAT YOU OR CHRIST JESUS?
- Key Verse
For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10)
- READ THE CHAPTER
Seek Jesus with all your heart.
As I prepared to write this Journey entry, I had a hard time with what to say and how to write it. My perfectionism did not like anything I had written. So I would crumple what I had written up or turn the page to start over. This turmoil continued for days, and the days turned into weeks. Eventually, the assignment was late, and I apologized to the church, explaining that I just could not do it. I was overwhelmed with what my friends and family would think. I knew God wanted me to write this devotional, even though I struggle with what others think of me. But I ultimately realized the main issue was inside of me: who I was serving -- Christ or myself?
Paul wrote about sacrificing the desire to please man and to lay our life down to speak the truth of who Christ is. In Philippians 3:8-9, God reminds us that we must be willing to lose our life for the gain of Christ Jesus: ". . . I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ . . . ."
The Galatians were leaning on their own understanding by looking for direction from others around them who perverted the gospel with rules and activities. This caused confusion and blinded the Galatians from the truth. Why would we ever turn to man or even ourselves when we have God who is perfect in every way and knows what is best for us and for His glory (Proverbs 3:5-6)? And we have His Word that gives us direction and the hope.
I thank God for the truth of His Word that sets me free from the fear of man and of myself when I seek His approval first (Matthew 6:33).
1. 2 Corinthians 5:15 says: "[A]nd he died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf." What are the areas in your life in which you are putting the approval of others (and yourself) above God's approval?
2. Are you seeking His Word for the answers you need? And are you waiting patiently to hear from Him? (See Isaiah 40:31, Joshua 1:8, and Psalm 40:1.)
3. What laws or activities are you allowing to distract you from spending time with God and having a deeper relationship with Him?
4. Where do you need to be real about your imperfections and allow God to change you and use you for His glory and kingdom? (See 1 John 1:8-10.)
WEEKLY FAMILY ACTIVITY
2 Corinthians 11 - Galatians 2 (July 23-27)
Read 2 Corinthians 11:16-33.
• Make a list of all the things that happened to Paul. Discuss which one you think would be the hardest.
• What does Paul say in verse 30?
• What do you think it means to boast in your weaknesses?
• Have each person make a list of your weaknesses and hardships that you have been through.
Now read 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 and Romans 5:3-5.
• What are the blessings of hardships and weaknesses?
• What does it mean to trust the Lord in the hard times?
• What does it mean to trust Him in your weaknesses?
Activity: Go back over your lists. What is the weakness or hardship that you are struggling with most? Put everyone's name on a piece of paper and have each family member draw a name. This week, do different things to encourage that person in his or her toughest struggle right now. Find verses to encourage them and pray for them.