Can I just talk about something that makes my life better? Getting to be part of the Nav freshmen girls' Bible study on Tuesday nights. I am not a freshman, but I love those gals. We have been going through Galatians (along with all of the UT Navigators) and I have just absolutely loved talking about, observing, questioning, and studying this Word with those women. We have great fun and great talks and it is indubitably a highlight of my week. And soon we will have a princess party.
Our topic of study last night? Galatians 5. I think this may be one of my favorite chapters of the book. I wanted to talk about a few things from our conversation that have really been in my mind recently.
1. Faith and love. "For in Christ, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but faith expressing itself through love." (verse 6) When I asked what faith expressing itself through love might look like in our daily lives, I was thinking about how we could show our faith to others by loving them. I think that's pretty swell, but definitely not all there is to it! One of the girls, (shout out to HP, what what!) mentioned that it's also about expressing faith in God by loving Him, and doing good works because we love Him and have faith that He is good and He is God.
too. legit. to. quit.
In our study of Galatians, we have definitely learned that it's not about following the law, but it's about our faith in God. That doesn't mean, however, that we should not do what God says is good just because that's not what it's about. It's about loving God! It has really made me evaluate why I do the "good" things that I do, and I want to make sure that my love for God is what my faith is expressed through, not my love for myself or for things that are good.
2. Lump leavening. "You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump." (verses 7-9) This was a particularly fun one to get to the bottom of because we don't talk a lot about lumps being leavened in our every day lives at the University of Tennessee. We learned (through 1 Cor 5:6-8) that we want to rid ourselves of the old leaven and become a "new lump" of unleavened dough, since that's why Christ died for us! Paul is asking the Galatians, "What happened to you? Who is tripping you up? A little leaven leavens the whole lump!" Basically, even a smidgen of bad can spread throughout our whole lives to make us lose sight of the goal. A question I had was, What is leavening your lump? What are you letting slide in your daily life, in your relationship with God or others, or in your actions, that is affecting or has the potential to affect all other areas of your life? (in a negative way). I'm still working on this one. Definitely valuable to consider.
3. Freedom. "But you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another." (verse 13) How can we use the fact that we are free to love and serve one another? Because we have this ridiculous freedom in Christ, we have the ability to love and serve the people around us in ways that we couldn't if we were still enslaved. How can we appreciate and use that freedom in the way we are able to love the people in our lives? There is something special about the way we can love, because we have a great reason to love. and that reason is Love.
And of course, the fruits of the Spirit- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Against such things there is no law.
Let us keep in step with the Spirit!