Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ's death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross. Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? Have you experienced so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it? I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ. Galatians 3:1-5
Don't tell anyone, but I'm a sucker for those cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies. Yes, I understand that these sappy flicks starring B-list actors of yesteryear follow a formula which means that if you've seen one, you've pretty much seen them all. That doesn't matter to me; I'm ready to get lost in all the holiday cheer.
No matter what quaint small town that single, super-successful woman finds herself in around Christmas, a tension exists. She's forgotten where she came from, lost sight of her roots, or misplaced her holiday spirit. For the next 90 minutes, we watch as she recovers and remembers what truly is important, normally as snow begins to fall.
Hallmark movies aren't the only places that capture people neglecting and disregarding what makes home magical. As we read Paul's letter to the church in Galatia, we see a community of believers who have overlooked the source of their freedom. They failed to remember the hope Christ provided them.
These believers started to follow teachers preaching a different message - one that required them to follow the Law of Moses, observe religious festivals, and a host of other spiritual demands.
Weighed down by the requirements of following the law, they lost their way. They forgot where they came from and that their salvation came by faith alone, through God's grace. Stuck in the performance trap, they were far from home.
Their straying took a toll on their heart, spirit, and unity. Paul's words were an invitation beckoning them to come back home and remember the freedom that resides there. God's grace is the only thing that makes their walk with Jesus possible. The same holds for us.
This is a message we all need to hear and keep at the forefront of our vision. Placing this reminder before our eyes will prevent us from straying from our roots. Today, let us remember where we come from as followers of Jesus Christ. Instead of focusing on our deeds, let us rejoice over our deliverance. A redemption story like that is worth watching over and over again.
Where do you find yourself entangled in the performance trap?
What has caused you to lose sight of the freedom Christ provides?
God, it is by Your grace, and Your grace alone, that I am free. You have broken every chain and rescued me from the burden of religion. All You ask of me is to walk in this truth. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.