Thought for the Night

So as I am sitting here chatting with an old friend, I have come to the realization that sometimes I even surprise myself in the way I react to things. Sometimes the reaction is good and right, sometimes the reaction is COMPLETELY not what it should be, and still sometimes my reaction is straight up not what you would expect from me (or I from myself). I won’t get into details because it really just leaves me somewhat embarrassed, but the hilarious reactions to where you can picture your own face while it is happening and you would never expect yourself to react like that in a particular situation is just down right priceless and brightens my mood! So therefore I recommend that you take some time to laugh at yourself from something you did today, yesterday, last week, or last year or from some other time in your life. Have a good night!

Goodness Shown

So our church is one month away from going on a service trip to Washington D.C. with EPIC Ministries sponsoring the trip. The theme verse for EPIC is based off of Galatians 6:9-10

Do not grow weary in doing good for t the proper time you will reap a harvest if you do not give up. Therefore, as you have opportunity, do good to all people beginning with the family of believers.

We have been asked to memorize this verse as it will be the theme of our week of service. This post will be my initial reflections on this verse.

Throughout the entire book of Galatians the freedom of a Christian is a consistent theme. This is a result of the Gospel of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who fulfilled the law on our behalf. In this we get to live life for God. We get to live a life that says, “I am forgiven.” We live a life that says that we are made righteous. We are sanctified. This is all done by faith. Not by our works.

This is apparent by the Galatians being oppressed by Jewish teachers who were saying that they must obey the full law of Moses, including the law of the sign of the old covenant, which is circumcision. Paul spends the whole letter opposing this view of legalism and contrasts it with the freedom of the Gospel, where the legalism of the law has no power over the Christian. The Christian is free.

So what then does Christian freedom look like? Love. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind,” and, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” These commands are what the law of Christ is. We are free to show that mercy to others. That mercy is indeed love for one another, which is indeed loving God, for Christ said, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” This freedom to please Him was won for us on the cross, where the Law of Moses, which leaves us condemned, was fulfilled for us. We do not point to our brothers and sisters and say, “You must do this.” Instead, we show mercy to others.

This is where I will come back to Galatians 6:9-10 again. “Do not grow weary in doing good for at the proper time you will reap a harvest if you do not give up. Therefore, as you have opportunity, to do good to all people beginning with the family of believers.”

The first part of this verse is, “Do not grow weary in doing good.” What is weariness? Dictionary.com defines weary as, “physically or mentally exhausted by hard work, exertion, strain, etc.; fatigued; tired.” How does weariness creep into our lives as Christians? Well, it can come in a number of ways, namely when others sin against us, or when we take personal offense to others actions. Maybe when we look around and do not see God answering our prayers the way we want them answered. Sometimes, that weariness creeps in when we sin and wrong others and our shame and our guilt overwhelms us and we cannot find the strength to do good because we are so focused on our failures. All these examples are way for Satan to come in and harass us, by placing doubts, guilt, and shame in our face. And these things start to take a toll because those attacks by Satan become consistent and often distracting us from the cross of Christ and his forgiveness.

The second part of that opening phrase in this passage is the part on goodness. One must ask ourselves, what is good? Good is the effects of the Gospel. Goodness is what the Gospel compels the Christian to do because we have been shown that goodness. That goodness is mercy. It is love. It is joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control (the Fruits of the Spirit). It is the act of restoring our brothers and sisters, reminding them that they are indeed forgiven by Christ. Goodness is when we take care of others needs and share each others burdens. But the central piece to all of this is where the desire to do good comes from. Paul warns the churches in Galatia about this in verse 7-8 saying, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction.” However, “The one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” When our actions are of the Spirit, God blesses those actions to further His kingdom for He is holy and just and merciful. Therefore, let us not become weary in doing good so that the kingdom of God may be plentiful and God be glorified.

This is all based on an encouraging note of perseverance when Paul says, “If you do not give up.” Here, we see that Paul does not say that weariness will not happen in the Christian life, but even despite our weariness and struggle God is able to use the good that we do to our neighbor for His glory. As Christians we will become weary, and when we do we repent, and are reminded of the cross of Christ and press on do good. It’s not always easy, but the Christian life never is.

“Therefore as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” All people need the goodness that has been shown to us because we live in such a fallen world. When that goodness is shown to others, a testimony takes place. And that testimony is the death of Christ for us. The goodness shown can open doors of opportunity to witness to all people, which the Holy Spirit will be active in bringing that person to faith or strengthening that faith, but that is something that God does, of which we have no control over. However, the goodness that we do can be shown. And this goodness is especially to be shown with the church, the family of believers. When a believer is shown that goodness it is empowering and restoring to the believer which gives that believer the courage to do good to others. It keeps the believer from becoming weary. It allows for the whole body of believers to continue doing good instead of just a few. This is why it is important for Christians to go to church because we receive that goodness through our fellowship with others, through the word, and through the Sacrament of the Alar. Therefore, I encourage every reader to continue doing good that has been shown to you through Christ.