Persevering in the Walk of Faith
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Before you Gentiles knew God, you were slaves to so-called gods that do not even exist. So now that you know God (or should I say, now that God knows you), why do you want to go back again and become slaves once more to the weak and useless spiritual principles of this world? You are trying to earn favor with God by observing certain days or months or seasons or years. I fear for you. Perhaps all my hard work with you was for nothing. Dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to live as I do in freedom from these things, for I have become like you Gentiles—free from those laws. (Galatians 4:8-12 NLT)
At about a year old, a baby finally learns to walk. For months, the child has been motoring around the home by crawling on all fours. After plenty of practice pulling themselves up to stand and countless tumbles, the child takes his or her first steps. Parents enshrine the moment of their child’s first steps in pictures, videos, and baby journals, and in a heartbeat, will describe in full detail the when, the where, and the how of it to loved ones and friends. Those steps are a marker of a child’s growth and development and represent the wonder of being human (when most creatures of the animal kingdom move about on all fours!)
The child who learns to walk is done with crawling. He or she has no reason to return to their previous quadrupedal mode of existence. Walking is faster and moving around upright gives them access to the many things a crawler can’t reach. The child experiences a sense of freedom in the loads of new and intriguing things the feat of walking allows them to do and see. Similarly, those who have come to God by faith in Christ have no reason to remain bound to their previous way of life.
When the Apostle Paul wrote to the Gentiles in Galatia, he encouraged them to persevere in the freedom brought about by their new life in Christ. Previously, they were enslaved to the many false gods of Greek paganism, following the “useless spiritual principles of this world” (v. 9). Pagan religion entailed tedious sacrifices and other ritual observances to atone for wrongdoings and appease the gods. But the cross accomplished for them, once and for all, the atonement for their sins and freedom from ritual religion.
The walk of faith, rooted in the cross of Christ, is qualitatively “better” than any other way of life (Hebrews 8:6). Paul encouraged believers to walk in a manner worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God (Ephesians 4:1). With such a marvelous salvation, there is no reason to go back again to the crawling ways of our previous life. We are no longer bound to our old behaviors and practices, but are called to press onward in the superior walk of faith.
Prayer: Lord, thank You for saving me for something much, much better. Your ways and promises far exceed any other path of life I could pursue. Help me embrace the freedom of Christ anew and walk onward in the love and joy You have prepared.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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