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July 24, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again? You observe days and months and seasons and years. I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain.”—Galatians 4:8–11 (NASB)
[ask] Where did you start? Where do you want to finish? Ask yourself those two questions about anything (life, love, work) and I guarantee your answers will not be the same. There is a fire in us all to seek knowledge and growth.
In these verses, we find Paul marveling at the Galatians for choosing to go back to where they started. They began in ignorance (not yet knowing God), serving the “weak and worthless” things of the world around them.
And how easy it is to deny you’re enslaved when that’s all you’ve ever known! And how hard it is to imagine freedom when you have yet to see that might exist! But after you have seen the freedom, how could you return again to bondage?
The Galatians had “come to know God” and yet eventually returned to their previous state.
We are naturally inclined to the world and its false gods. It’s our humanity. But once you know Truth, it becomes your accountability.
[define] What does being enslaved look like? Simply, it looks like anything less than freedom. Compare it to the truth of your purpose and your worth, and if it doesn’t line up, you’re believing something less. The Bible says there are only two masters (Matthew 6:24) we can serve; one has a burden that crushes and the other a yoke that is easy (Matthew 11:30). Do my actions line up with God’s character? What voice is the loudest during my deliberations?
[reason] Why do we return to this? The world is convincing, and we forget where every good thing comes from (James 1:17). Personally, I start to act in my own strength and wisdom, held back by my limited view or the lies I believe. Could it be that we’re used to the bondage, and it’s safe in its familiarity? Could it be that our natural state is one of sin?
[solution] How can we remain free? Keep God a part of your every day. Have you invited Him into the moment or choice in front of you? If you’ve genuinely invited Him into the moment, then at least your heart is open to following Him and not eager to lead. Seek honest counsel and challenge your heart.
Though our starting points, our bindings, and our finish lines are different, we each have a common hope: There is freedom and joy in the presence of the Lord forever (Psalm 16:11).
DIG: Do a word study in the Bible for Hosea, yoke of God, two masters, and sheep that wander.
DISCOVER: Do you feel panic or stress? Do you feel ashamed or lost? Does that line up with God’s best for you?
DO: Look back at where you started. Remember the salvation and freedom. Be honest with yourself. Evaluate those areas so ignorance can no longer bind you. With ignorance you can’t help but remain, but with knowledge you cannot so easily return. Set goals for growth.