Monday, 26 September 2011
Galatians 6:11-18: What I’m really thinking about
This is our last week in Galatians. It’s not too late to drop me an email with one way God has worked in your life during our study of Galatians and Psalms. Send it to email@example.com.
Have you ever noticed what you talk about in unguarded moments?
We were sitting around the cafeteria at lunch. Sixth graders. The top of the elementary school food chain. It was near the end of the school year, so we were feeling pretty lofty. I mean, we were about to enter junior high. The younger grades kept their distance. They admired us from afar, not daring to approach our table.
The talk turned to a test that had just been returned. “Whoa! That was a tough one.” “Yeah, I thought I was going to flunk for sure. But I pulled off a C.” “I got a B-, but I saw Kerrie got a 95. I think she got the highest grade in the class.”
“Actually…” I bit my lip. The next words on my tongue were, “…I got a 99.” The only reason I stopped was that Mom had taught me not to brag. But I wanted to. Oh, I wanted to. I had bragging rights! And my thoughts were so full of myself, I’m surprised the other girls couldn’t hear them.
I talk about what I’m really thinking about. And what I’m usually thinking about is me.
I can do that. Boasting comes naturally to us sinners, doesn’t it? When someone tells a story, we start thinking of one that tops it. When someone talks about their family, we sift through family history for our contribution. When someone announces an accomplishment, we seize the moment to highlight an accomplishment of our own. We boast about ourselves because our thoughts are full of ourselves.
Can you relate?
Paul’s last words. Paul counters this trend. He closes his letters with a few final thoughts. What does he want to leave the Galatians thinking about? The false teachers? Themselves? Paul? No. His last words are about the central person of history and his greatest accomplishment. The cross of Christ.
And may it never be that I should boast…except in the cross of Christ Jesus my Lord. His words are full of Christ because his thoughts are full of Christ. That’s not natural! It’s supernatural. And God can do that in us, too.
This week’s questions.
1. What personal details do we learn about Paul (Galatians 6:11, 17)?
2. What final criticism does he make of the false teachers (Galatians 6:12-13) What do they want? What do they do or not do?
3. What three instructions does Paul give about boasting (Galatians 6:4, 13, 14)? How do we reconcile them with each other? (Proper boasting about ourselves is about the work of Christ in us, without comparing ourselves to anyone else.)
4. What two things does Paul say about the cross of Christ (Galatians 6:12, 14)? How do these two responses form a continuum from unbelief to faith?
5. The cross of Christ is the hinge of human history and of each human life. What did Christ accomplish on the cross? What makes this the greatest accomplishment in human history?
6. Jesus is also the first born of the new creation. (see 1 Corinthians 15:23, 2 Corinthians 5:17). How does his resurrected life point to the type of life I can enjoy today as a new creation?
7. What accomplishments (of my own, my children, my husband, etc.) do I tend to boast in? Spend some time meditating on His accomplishments. Ask God to preoccupy your mind with Christ!
8. Paul ends this strongly worded epistle with this “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.” Is there someone you have had to rebuke or correct? Let the grace of Jesus Christ be the final word over every relationship.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, sisters. Amen.