The Only Thing That Counts

July 26th, 2007 • Category: Book of Galatians
by Tom Chittenden

Please read Galatians 5: 2-6 (NRSV) (The Message) out loud if possible.

As you read, consider these questions: What might God be saying to me in this passage? What jumps out at me? At the end of the reading, try to summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two before reading on.

My thoughts on this passage (Tom Chittenden):

You’ve probably seen those commercials showing students skipping from their classrooms at the conclusion of the last day of school, or employees running gleefully out the door of their workplace at the end of the day signaling the arrival of a long awaited vacation. It may only be a temporary hiatus for the students who must return in the fall or an even shorter time span for the vacationing employees, but what a wonderful feeling freedom brings to our minds and spirits — freedom from the authority of a teacher or an employer’s control over our time and activity.

While we often daydream about what that freedom will be like, basking in the thought of being able to do what we want, when we want — all it takes is the reality of that annoying alarm clock to summon us back to the obligations of school or work!

We should never let one day pass for which we don’t thank our Creator that the freedom we know — through Jesus, as God’s children — is not temporary. True liberty comes from realizing that Jesus is Lord! As His disciple, we are not bound to the dogma and obligations of institutionalized religion, but instead we are asked to believe the One who is revealed in the Scriptures (John 5:39-40). Let’s always measure our life by His standards. Submit ourselves to His yoke and exercise care to never place a yoke on others that is not of Jesus Christ. It can take us a long time to stop thinking that unless everyone sees things as we do, they must be wrong. For most of us, we’ve been on the other end of this kind of treatment all too often.

There is only one true liberty — the liberty of Jesus at work in our conscience enabling us to do what is right. Paul sums it up for us, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”

Thought for the day: Jesus said, “Go…and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19) not “Go…and convert them to your thoughts and opinions.”

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to start, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

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