Galatians 4:17, 5:6-- They are enthusiastic about you, but not for any good. Instead, they want to isolate you so you will be enthusiastic about them . . . For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision accomplishes anything; what matters is faith working through love.
There is in my backyard a beautiful maple tree. Each fall its green leaves turn yellow, orange and red. Fall is my favorite season. God reopens His art gallery of magnificent colors for all to see. If only I could keep those maple leaves attached—suspended in their beauty to enjoy all year round. But I cannot. The drab barren arms of a tree bereft of its clothing oscillate over soggy ground. Brown leaves will compost and I am left to ponder the reality that my wishes might seem best but God’s plan is far better.
Seasons change and I am reminded again how easy it is to grow fond of sun and criticize rain, to canonize tradition and tear down what is unfamiliar, to holify religious views and nullify inspiration. Zeal is a fickle creature. For example, if we have grown up singing hymns to the stately organ do those who clap to contemporary praise songs disturb us? If the Bible we knew was always KJV can we accept CEV? If the mass was always at 11:00 on Sunday morning how dare believers meet Saturday night! If the priest preaches in jeans and the pastor quotes Confucius scandal cannot be far away. Like the Jews from Jerusalem who insisted the Galatian Gentiles must be circumcised we find our own issues to cut into others or we experience someone else’s passionate knife.
Christ did not die on the cross to make us crusaders for our private causes. He died to make us free! He gave grace to our faith not our legal aptitude! So why then after we meet Jesus do we lose the humility that comes in recognizing we need God to become proud and insist others need us? Why do we lose sight of the Great Commission to enforce our latest conviction?
How many are not in fellowship with God because they were sacrificed on the altar of church politics? How many have not heard the gospel because God’s people majored on eternally lame agendas? People are looking for love and by God’s mercy we have the liberty to share that love. Too many people are burned out of fellowship because in truth what they experienced was followship. Liberty means unity not uniformity! Are we free?
Be careful to see that you never bind a yoke on others that is not placed by Jesus Christ. It takes God a long time to get us out of the way of thinking that unless everyone sees as we do, they must be wrong. That is never God’s view. There is only one liberty, the liberty of Jesus at work in our conscience enabling us to do what is right . . . Jesus said, “Go and make disciples,” not make converts to your opinions.—Oswald Chambers in My Utmost For His Highest
©1999 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)