it is always good to be made much of for a good purpose, and not only when i am present with you, my little children, for whom i am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you! i wish i could be present with you now and change my tone, for i am perplexed about you. [galatians 4:18-20]
|it is always good to be made much of for a good purpose, and not only when i am present with you
|paul sought out the galatians due to their good, commendable ways through his letter and through his physical presence|
|my little children, for whom i am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you||paul takes the position of a spiritual parent. just as labor pains bring forth life, sinful ways bring forth our need for salvation- a new life in him
|i wish i could be present with you now and change my tone, for i am perplexed about you||paul desires to speak with the galatians, not to them. as much as paul yearns to speak with the galatians, he is also perplexed because he is unsure of the ways and means by which he should affect their re-conversion; and this instils the wish that he could now be present with them, and, in place of the severe tone which at the preceding visit had had no good effect and this time he could try the experiment of an altered and milder tone (heinrich meyer)|
what is the bigger picture?
the judaizers were contaminating the truth of God’s word by proclaiming a Jesus + works policy, and by following that policy only then is true salvation achieved. to guide the church in galatia back to the truth, paul’s objective is to tell the church who to put their faith in, not what to put their faith in. Jesus is the only way to salvation; works will not get anyone into heaven
how can you apply this?
there are two ways practically apply this verse into our lives, or so i found. first, gentle reproof. we all need reproof from time to time. if you see someone who is in need to reproof, make sure your reproof has a good purpose. the purpose of reproof is to lead someone back to God, not to give yourself an ego massage. before giving reproof to someone else, it may be a good idea to ask someone to hold you accountable as you reproof in order that the objective stays on God.
second, remember who the story is about. it is easy to read this verse and admire paul, but that is not who this story is truly about. in the same way that we see paul in this verse, we see ourselves in daily life. yet, our story is about God! take a few moments throughout the day meditate on a verse that you so choose. see how different attributes pop out as you read it throughout the day. if you think you may forget to stop and read the word, set an alarm. let’s not simply go through the motions, let’s make our day about him!
~ angela younger