Song of Solomon 6-8 Galatians 4
“In the past you did not know God. You were slaves to gods that were not real. But now you know the true God. Really, it is God who knows you. So why do you turn back to those weak and useless rules you followed before? Do you want to be slaves to those things again?” (Galatians 4:8-9 NCV)
Do you remember your life before you met Christ? We had a discussion about that in a group at church the other night. Of the seven people at our table, I accepted Christ the latest in life at the age of eighteen. I had barely lived. Paul reminded the Galatians that same issue when he told them that in the past they were slaves to false gods. Learning about Jesus and coming to faith in Him introduced the Galatians to the God who loved them more than life itself. As Paul sought to bring the Galatians back to this love relationship, he called on their past lives once again, asking if they wanted those past rules and regulations to guide their behavior, or, more bluntly, enslave them again.
What are the false gods, the idols, that guide us these days? Anything that becomes more important than God becomes an idol. Anything that distracts us from our goal of sharing the love of God becomes a false god. Public opinion, reputation, sport events, drugs, and many other things draw us away from God and from our call to share the gospel. When we worry about what people think about us, we shrink from talking about Jesus, even though we know we should. When sports become all-consuming in our lives, it’s easy to forget about our relationship with God. How many people can quote the statistics of obscure participants in their favorite sports and then complain that memorizing God’s word is too hard? Even though I was young when I accepted Christ, I had already developed a problem with alcohol. I had to stop drinking alcohol completely, or it would take precedence over doing the things of God. While I can’t make a case from the Bible that everyone should stop drinking, I have a difficult time with those who follow Christ and glorify alcohol use. The truth is that anything that takes us away from following Christ, even those who’d set up rules about what you can eat or drink (even regarding alcohol) is an idol. We must continue to show the love of Christ and draw people into a relationship with God by grace. While Paul dealt with the Jewish law as the main problem, anything that makes us focus on rules and regulations, or personal pleasure about all else, draws us away from God’s love.
Lord, why is it so easy to go back to weak and useless rules for life when I have the opportunity to walk with You each day. Help me to please You as I spend time with You. Let my life be an example for those who need to know You.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.