Monday, June 6, 2016

An Introduction to a Study of the Book of Galatians

    I'm reading a book by Holley Gerth called "You're Already Amazing: Embracing Who You Are, Becoming All God Created You to Be." All in all, it's a good book with a lot of helpful, useful information. She is leading me to figure out who I am, what my strengths and skills are, and where God is calling me to serve. 

One exercise that I think was particularly helpful was called the "Do What You Can Plan." Haha. In it, she talks about not making these lofty, unattainable goals- something I'm totally guilty of. She says that doing this leads people to be discouraged and to quit when they don't see success all at once. Again, I'm raising my proverbial hand here. I am absolutely guilty of that! I throw myself into working out 30 or 60 minutes a day alongside perfect eating habits and lots of walking. Two weeks in, I've quit and I count myself a failure yet again as I eat all the cake I can find. 

Another example? I want to be a writer. But I don't want to just write to write. I want to write a best seller right now with almost no experience and absolutely zero platform to make that happen. I am not good at taking the big picture goal and pulling it apart into smaller pieces. And because of this, I end up quitting. I am disappointed by my own lack of ability to make it happen. I forget that God has called me to accomplish my purpose through HIS power and not my own.  "I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:13 NLT)

In trying to work with my own "Do What You Can Plan," I'm going to work on this blog again. I'm going to get it going and work through a book of The Bible. Will other people read it? I have no idea. Will I get this thing right? Who knows? Will I do my best through God's unending power? Yes. 

As I was praying about what to do for this whole thing, I felt like God was guiding me toward working on a Bible Study, a devotional. To be more exact, I think he wants me reading and studying Galatians. I don't know why, but I feel this intense pull toward that particular book. So I started reading introductions about it. 

The Book of Galatians was written by Paul, but no one is sure to whom he wrote. Some scholars say that it was written to the Galatians of the North while others say it was written to those in the South. If it was written to those in the North, then there are references to it in Acts 16 and 18 that show he wrote it between 53 and 57AD. If it was written to those in the South, then there are references in Acts 13 and 14 that show he wrote it between 48 and 49AD. (Am I the only one that is reminded of Dr. Seuss's story about The Sneetches here?) Either way, Paul wrote this a long time ago and there is Biblical support that proves it was him. I find this highly interesting, that a book of the Bible, written by Paul has such a controversial element to it. To me, this shows that the Bible is so highly relevant to so many people despite it being mostly letters from believers to believers. It shows that God can give a lesson and a message to one person and use that one person to spread that lesson to others, on and on, until many lives are touched. It reminds me of a verse in 2 Corinthians 1:4: "He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us."
Isn't that a great verse? It's like it's saying God is always, always there for us whenever we need him. And when we need more physical evidence of his presence, he sends more people to surround us and lift us up and remind us of his great love for us. He sends his people to guide his people through the storms. I love it.

Getting back to the Book of Galatians, Paul wrote this because there was fighting between believers about what made you a good believer. It was Jewish Believers VS Non-Jewish Believers here (again, I'm thinking about those Sneetches!). Some believers (Jewish believers, mostly) thought that you had to practice Jewish laws and customs or you weren't "doing it right." But Paul reminds them in this letter that it has nothing to do with what we DO but with what we believe and trust that God did for us. It's all about what Jesus already did! Remember: "We know very well that we are not set right with God by rule-keeping but only through personal faith in Jesus Christ. How do we know? We tried it—and we had the best system of rules the world has ever seen! Convinced that no human being can please God by self-improvement, we believed in Jesus as the Messiah so that we might be set right before God by trusting in the Messiah, not by trying to be good." (Galatians 2:16 MSG)

I don't know how long I'll stay here in this book. I suppose it will be until Jesus tells me I'm done here. Until then, I'll keep sharing what I learn and hopefully it'll help someone else. Until next time.

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