Galatians 6:11-18

Papa, You’ve set me free from any chain that tries to bind me

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Father, this passage in Galatians really highlights the effect that the opinions and practices of others can have on a person, even a follower of You.  Just like the ones Paul noted, there are so many of us believers who are driven or consumed by the desire to make a good impression outwardly, especially to the world, and to avoid any form of persecution for being identified with You. Many are more concerned with being socially palatable than biblically aligned or inwardly holy.  (Maybe we forget that Jesus was both and yet was without compromise…hmm)

These things I pray for me:  May I be found boasting—not about how accessible I am to unbelievers, or how well I can understand where a fallen brother is coming from, or anything that highlights my shortcomings in light of Your glory— but may I be found boasting about nothing but the cross of my Master Jesus Christ. “Because of that cross, I have been crucified in relation to the world, set free from the stifling atmosphere of pleasing others and fitting into the little patterns that they dictate.”

Thank You, Father, that the central issue here is not what I do or what others do—It’s all about what YOU’RE doing!  And You are creating something totally new, a free life in me!  You’ve said in Your Word that all who walk by this standard–new life in You–are truly Your children, Your chosen people … and You supply peace and mercy to us who do this and are Yours!

When I am tempted to downplay the holy life You’ve called me to, even around brothers and sisters in Christ, remind me of Your sacrifice, of the intent of Your action on the cross through Jesus.  You have extended Your grace to me . . . In Titus 3:4-6, You say that when Your kindness and love appeared, You saved me–not because of righteous things I’d done, but because of YOUR mercy.  You saved me through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom You poured out on me generously through Jesus Christ my Savior.  All this was so that, having been justified (made right with You) by grace, I have become Your heir, having the hope or assurance of life forever with You!

This grace You extend to me meets me wherever You found me, covering over what I lacked in measuring up to Your holiness, blotting out my sin that separated me from You.  Yet, Your grace doesn’t just move into the house of my life and sit around making me feel good; it decorates, redecorates and remodels according to Your will.  It does more than make us acceptable to You…

In Titus 2:11-14, You’ve said that Your grace, which brings salvation to all people, has appeared.  “It teaches us to say ‘no’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives IN this present age.”  By Your grace “we’re being shown how to turn our backs on a godless, indulgent life, and how to take on a God-filled, God-honoring life.  This new life is for right now and is whetting our appetites for the glorious day when You, our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, appears.  (wow! 🙂

You offered Yourself as a sacrifice to free me from a dark, rebellious life and to purify for Yourself a person who is Your very own, someone You can be proud of, someone eager to do good.  So, Father, may what my Master Jesus Christ gives freely—Your grace, Your mercy, Your peace—be deeply and personally mine.  Oh yes!

2 Corinthians 2

Thank You, Lord, that You love me like no other.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“Thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through ups spread everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him” (2:14 NIV)

“In Messiah, in Christ, God leads us from place to place in one perpetual victory parade.  Through us, He brings knowledge of Christ.  Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance.  Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation–an aroma redolent with life.  But those on the way to destruction treat us more like the stench from a rotting corpse.” (2:14-16 MSG)

Father, thanks that You make it so that others can smell Jesus on me.  Only You can cause Your scent to be stronger than my own, and to be recognizable as originating from You.

Thank You for the victory over sin that You make possible when I follow You.  This passage says You LEAD us in this “triumphal procession” or “perpetual victory parade.”  The only way You can LEAD is if I choose to follow … and I do!  I choose to follow You and I thank You for the victory You bring, as You shape me to be just like Jesus!  Amen.

*link embedded in “perpetual victory parade” is to Kathy Troccoli’s song “Parade” from her Love Has a Name project