Wow, I’ve been so wrapped up in getting the news out on my first giveaway, that now I realize I’ve neglected to post my Daily Bread entries. While I love learning about all the ins and outs of blogging and giveaways, I’ve mentioned before that I felt maintaining this blog should remain in part, a constructive tool to cultivate my self discipline and purpose, not develop into yet another time constraint taxing my family. That said, I’m excited to get back on track with my goal of weekly sharing my journal entries with you. For now, I’ve really been enjoying the S.O.A.P. study method and find that it helps me make the most of my quiet time (or not so quiet but bible reading time).
Today we’ll look at chapter 5 from Galatians. Here’s where my post will alter slightly from my personal journal, as I typically only write the scripture reference for larger chunks of text. This selection (really the entire book) is so rich I want to go ahead give you the whole thing in case you don’t have your bible handy.
S.cripture: Galatians 5 New Living Translation
(I like NLT for larger selections of reading, but you can hop over here to read it in the version you’re most comfortable with.)
“Freedom in Christ
5 So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.
2 Listen! I, Paul, tell you this: If you are counting on circumcision to make you right with God, then Christ will be of no benefit to you. 3 I’ll say it again. If you are trying to find favor with God by being circumcised, you must obey every regulation in the whole law of Moses. 4 For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.
5 But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us. 6 For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love.
7 You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? 8 It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom. 9 This false teaching is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough! 10 I am trusting the Lord to keep you from believing false teachings. God will judge that person, whoever he is, who has been confusing you.
11 Dear brothers and sisters,[a] if I were still preaching that you must be circumcised—as some say I do—why am I still being persecuted? If I were no longer preaching salvation through the cross of Christ, no one would be offended. 12 I just wish that those troublemakers who want to mutilate you by circumcision would mutilate themselves.[b]
13 For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. 14 For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[c] 15 But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.
Living by the Spirit’s Power
16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.
19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.”
Wow, so there are just so many pearls of wisdom packed in this chapter, but what I love about the S.O.A.P. method is that it helps you hone in on what really speaks to you in THIS READING. Tomorrow I might notice something else, but today I feel drawn to these particular verses:
“So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.” God didn’t come down to redeem us from the frying pan just to have us fall into the fire. We can’t let the pressure of misplaced expectations keep up from the liberty and peace of salvation.
“For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ!” Yikes! Cut off from Christ?! If I truly inspect my motives, am I trying to connect with God, or is my insecurity seeping in and fueling a prideful desire to earn grace?
“What is important is faith expressing itself in love” and “For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[c] 15 But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! ” Loving your neighbor as yourself can be tough when you wrestle with feelings of worthlessness, so the next line is a sobering indicator of how I am doing in that department. Am I lifting people up, or tearing them down?
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things” Is this the sort of fruit a stranger notices in my life? My husband? My children? ….especially in regards to patience and peace?
“You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? 8 It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom.”
Most of the pressure and stress we carry is self inflicted. Jesus wasn’t telling Martha she needed to stress out over everything, instead that she should sit at His feet like Mary.
Basically I need to take a hard look at my motives and as we say, “Check yo ‘self before you wreck yo ‘self”. The clean house, the coordinated outfits, the amazing cupcakes, and super-mom activities flooding our social network feeds can feel intimidating. I am not knocking them in anyway, they are awesome and have tremendous value…but I’ve got to remember that they are the means to an end….NOT the goal. If those elements are building wonderful memories of fun, love and connection with my family then, SCORE!! If my smile looks strained in pictures because I’m more concerned about my house clutter in the background than the precious Kodak moment then, ALERT ALERT!!
I am an expert at second guessing myself and over analyzing my choices. Do I insist we keep up with chores to instill discipline, self respect, an appreciation of hard work, the value of community effort, and so on…..or do I let them slide to because we are in a season of transition, I don’t want to become another Martha, they take forever and honestly, are the floor crumbs really worth it? Am I letting them slide because I feel directed to by God, or is that my lazy self rationalizing flesh? I need to quit wasting time wavering, and trust that if my God on high wants me to know something it will be clear as a bell. Matthew 7:16 says “You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?“ I need to prayerfully consider what elements of my life need pruning so that my time, energy and resources can feed that which produces good fruit. I also need to remember, it’s really not anything that I can even do…it’s the fruit of the HOLY SPIRIT…therefore, it’s more about being open and aware of His leading than it is about doing this or that. That’s the freedom! It’s not on me to decide what to do, it’s just my responsibility to obey! How liberating is that?! To know, all the prep work is done, everything is coordinated, everyone’s needs are considered and planned for. That we don’t have to worry because the absolute best plan of action is already itemized out for us, we just have to follow our leader 🙂 Talk about refreshing!
“Lord, thank you so much for your loving mercy and grace. Watching my children struggle with something so ‘simple’ even after clear instruction can be heartbreaking, but I am non the less happy and ready to celebrate when they finally “get it”. I can only imagine the patience you endure with me, so thank you Lord for your gentle and loving teaching as you reveal your truth in my life. Thank you Lord, for gifting us with the presence of your Holy Spirit as a guide and comfort. Please Heavenly Father, help me to be sensitive to Your Spirit, that I may glorify You as my “self” diminishes and your fruit flourishes in my life. Help me Lord to not only see what you would have me do, clearly and without confusion, but grant me the courage and desire to obey without hesitation. I ask these things in Christ’s Holy name, Amen”
I feel a little weird copying my prayer since it’s such an intimate thing between me and my God, but at the same time I think it’s an important part of the S.O.A.P. method. What do you think? Should I just write “here’s when I prayed for God’s help to apply what I read”? Or do you like reading the prayer also?
Did something else stand out to you as you read along? Maybe a different application? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!