Day 101: April 11, 2014

Today's Reading(s)

Galatians 3:27-4:7
27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ like a garment. 28 There is no Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, heirs according to the promise.
1 Now I say that as long as the heir is a child, he differs in no way from a slave, though he is the owner of everything. 2 Instead, he is under guardians and stewards until the time set by his father. 3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were in slavery under the elemental forces of the world. 4 When the time came to completion, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba , Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.



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Living in the Freedom of Being God's Beloved Child
by Carol Vicary, Member of Brentwood Baptist, Brentwood Campus

These verses from the letter that Paul wrote to the church in Galatia are full of encouragement for believers in Christ. Here, he describes the decision to trust Christ as having "put on Christ." When we put on Christ, we make the decision to put our faith in Christ, not faith in ourselves.

It's not that we haven't tried to do life ourselves, but it seems like when we look back, there is a trail of destruction behind us. Many of us would say that we want to live a life that honors God, but in our own strength, this isn’t possible. We want to love others with a genuine, selfless love but can't seem to stop thinking about "me."

The great news is that when we put on Christ, the old has passed away and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17)! We have a new life and a new inheritance.

Our world is one of performance and self-promotion. Our family recently enjoyed watching the Winter Olympics where the focus was all about performance and rewards. As Christians, it’s difficult for us to be surrounded by this culture and not take on these characteristics. Our tendency may be to want to work and perform to please God.

Many of us struggle with wanting to make our list of dos and don'ts, making sure to check off the appropriate number each day. Then, we think, God will be happy with us. The truth is performance only makes me happy, not God. He wants me to trust in who he says that I'm—righteous in Christ, apart from anything I can or will do.

When we experience the reality of putting on Christ, He transforms our hearts so that our focus is on others. We may find ourselves deeply moved by the heartbreak of others and suddenly realize that we care about people in a way that is new and fresh. This passage makes it clear that all are one in Christ Jesus.

No matter who you are or where you've come from, Christians are together in one body. We are all equally loved by God! He has brought us into his family and adopted us as sons, making us heirs. Because God loves us as his sons, he sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts. Now our hearts call out to him as our "Abba.” In the Jewish culture, this word would be used to represent both relational intimacy and honorable respect.

My father abandoned our family when I was a little girl due to struggles with alcoholism and other issues. As a child, my broken heart longed for a relationship with a father that involved relational intimacy and honorable respect. God heard the cry of my heart and my heavenly father provided what my earthly father did not. God hears us when we cry “Abba.” He offers us a deep, intimate relationship and we love him with honorable respect.

Lists make me happy. I am one of those people who would like to keep a check-off list so that God can see that I’m doing a good job. However, thinking that I can do it better than Jesus and his death on the cross is pure arrogance. When my life was joined in relationship with Christ, I put on Christ. Each day, I have to repent of my desire to live my life in my own strength and humbly submit to my Father for his enabling.

Praxis

  1. This passage teaches us about the roles of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in our lives as Christians. What are some ways that you see the work of the Trinity in your own walk with Christ?
  2. Search for one passage of scripture to memorize that will remind you that you have put on Christ and you are not meant to live in your own strength or performance. (Galatians 2:20 is one great one but there are many!)
  3. Your Father wants to hear the cries of your heart. What are the things that have wounded you that you need to talk about with him? He wants to redeem the brokenness. Find a way to tell him what brings you joy. He wants to celebrate with you!

About JourneyOn Today

Today's devotional series accompanies the Spiritual Practices Foundations Curriculum which deals with 24 different spiritual disciplines. We will break for an Advent series in December and continue the second half of Spiritual Practices during the first quarter of 2015.