15 March 2019
Reading: Deuteronomy 28-29; Galatians 6
14 As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has died long ago, and the world’s interest in me has also died. 15 It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we really have been changed into new and different people. 16 May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people of God. (Galatians 6:14-16 NLT)
Let’s get some perspective on what Paul is saying: Paul had once been intensely proud of his heritage as a member of the Jewish tribe of Benjamin, as a Pharisee, as a disciple of Rabbi Gamaliel. He had been on a fast track to influence among the Jews as an activist for doctrinal purity and for his hatred of Christ-followers. Now he’s saying, as he does elsewhere, that none of this matters. It did matter to him at one time, just as it still matters to a lot of other people, but for Paul, it didn’t matter anymore!
Paul was changed by a personal encounter with the risen Lord Jesus Christ, and that encounter radically changed his heart. Then, as he daily responded to the Holy Spirit, other things changed. He no longer judged himself better or others worse because of race or because of the details of religious doctrinal difference. He progressively lost interest in “this world” and it lost interest in him. That meant that his ambitions, his values, and his considerable talents and abilities, were re-focused on knowing Christ, helping to advance God’s real Kingdom, and bringing as many people along with him as possible!
What Paul said then is just as true now. What counts--what really matters--is whether we are being changed into new and different people.
• Are we less proud of who we thought we were and more accepting of others who are different?
• Are we less driven by selfish ambition and more moved by compassion and care for others?
• Are we less concerned about our treasures and our toys and more interested in using our time, talents, and resources to advance God’s eternal Kingdom?
Father, I so want to value what you value! I want the things that count with you to count with me! Your Word says that what counts is that I am being changed into a new and different person. May I and my friends who read this value what you value and may what counts with you count with us. May we continually be being changed into new and different people. For Jesus’ Sake. Amen.