“It is easy to accept good things as ultimate aims and in the process miss the point of the spiritual life.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – February 5, 2022
But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. Galatians 6:14-16, ESV
In Galatians 6, St. Paul closes his letter with a final exhortation, directing these early Christians in the way of freedom and peace. And yet, contrary to our modern notions of freedom, he calls it “a rule.” In fact, walking by the rule of grace, according to Paul, is the way to have the mercy of God shown upon you and the entire family of God.
It is easy to accept good things as ultimate aims and in the process miss the point of the spiritual life.
There are countless ways in which we are told to live as followers of Jesus, and these are not to be ignored or discounted. We are meant to die to ourselves daily in loving acts of service to the poor and needy. We must strive to remain faithful to the vows we have made to God and those we love. The Ten Commandments are not just the stuff of Sunday School lessons but are indeed meant to guide our decisions and shape our desires. And yet, morality alone is not the final goal of the Christian life. In fact, one can observe every commandment and keep every rule and still be dead on the inside.
The rule that supersedes them all is the rule of life. It is, as Paul says, the power of God working in us to make us new creations. It is possible to eat, sleep, laugh, and cry and yet not be truly alive to the life God longs for you to know. In many ways, this is most difficult to accept when we are young. The world seems to be filled with endless pleasures and wonders to explore, each promising to fulfill our deepest longings. Often it is only after they are tried and found wanting that we, like the Prodigal Son, come to our senses and return to the only source of lasting peace.
If you were to take a moment today to stop and assess your relationship to the world, what might you discover? Can you say with Paul that the world is crucified to you, and you to the world? Or, do parts of the world’s promises retain a lasting hold on your heart, keeping you from walking daily in the rule of new life?
By the power of God at work in you, strive to daily turn away from lesser loves and turn to the new life that is found as we walk by this perfect rule of love.
Father, give us the strength to walk by the rule of love, longing for the new life you offer through Christ our Lord. Amen.
What worldly desire promises you life yet is instead keeping you in bondage and death? Offer it to the Lord in prayer and ask him to set you free to live by the rule of new life.
Loud Harp: The Nearness of You
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