If there is a figure in Scripture we can understand it is Job. He said in Job 14:1 that for mankind, we have few days and they are full of trouble. We can understand all Job wanted was to understand why he went through what he did. But as he struggled to understand, some "friends" came along to encourage him - and by encourage I actually mean yell at him and tell him he is a rotten sinner who needs to repent.
Job's friends needed to listen to this week's message before visiting him. We all need to be reminded that a key purpose of the church is to bear one another's burdens. This week, we will look at the first part of the last chapter in Galatians and see how bearing one another's burdens is a fulfillment of the Gospel.
If there is a lasting image in pop culture it is when faced with a difficult decision, people have an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other with both of them pleading their case into the ear of the person. The ironic thing is that for once, pop culture isn't all that far off. Every day we are faced with a choice to walk in our flesh or walk in the Spirit.
But how do we walk in the Spirit? That's a great question that we will answer this week as we near the end of our series in Galatians.
One of the often overlooked aspects of the Gospel message is that it matters for today. The fact that Jesus Christ came in the flesh, bled, died and rose again matters for life today. It's not just a matter of what happens when we die. In our text this week, Paul moves us to a deeper understanding of what our new life in Christ is to look like by challenging us not to go back.
This past week, we celebrated our nation's independence. As American's we love our freedom and think that true freedom is celebrated by having no restraints on our lives. I can do what I want, when I want and how I want. Yet, that is what the Galatians thought as well. Freedom in God meant doing things their way rather than living according to God's rules for their lives.
Certainly this sounds like we might be going back to a life of legalism! That is not the case. But is also true that living according to God's way of living is the only way to true freedom.
Have you ever watched someone turn their life around only to go back to their old way of life? Maybe they were addicted, maybe they made other destructive choices, maybe they mismanaged their money. Whatever it is, they exchanged their newfound freedom for the yoke of their former way of life. When that happens, those of us who have walked with a person and helped them to see the truth, we find ourselves heartbroken over their decision.
This is where we find the Apostle Paul this week. He is heartbroken about how the Galatian church went back to living under the burden of the law after he showed them what freedom in Christ looks like.