“For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.” Galatians 5:13 NLT
I really love how Paul builds on this narrative about the freedom we have in Christ. But it comes with some parameters. After exhorting us to stay free & warning us to keep from enslaving false doctrine, this passage now provides guidance to use this freedom God provides, not just for our own benefit but to humbly serve others.
This is counter culture which glorifies serving and indulgence on selfish desires ( beyond self care). Now that we are free we should use it to love and serve others.
As Toni Morrison famously quoted “ The function of freedom is to free someone else”. This is a good paraphrase of this scripture.
Now that God has made us free. We should be conduit of Grace, love, mercy, service and freedom for others. Help us O Lord, to walk in this kind of freedom with a heart to serve and liberate others.
“You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom. “This false teaching is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough! I am trusting the Lord to keep you from believing false teachings. God will judge that person, whoever he is, who has been confusing you. Gal 5:7-10 NLT
There is so much in Galatians 5! This passage immediately follows the exhortation in vs 5 Christ has set you free! NOW make sure that you STAY FREE! Like a good. friend, Paul continues in verse 7 paraphrasing , You were doing so well – WHO is detracting you from the truth which guides your purpose, goals, (insert whatever else).
This is a pause to examine your relationships or whoever you have been listening too! The news? A new distraction? Paul is clear it is a WHO. In this case, he is calling out false teaching that was requiring an old practice of circumcision as a requirement of righteousness. It had an “appearance” of a good thing to show off our intention, but Paul called it out as false principle that was gaining traction!
This distraction is clearly not from God either, who is calling us into Freedom! God knows us so well and our propensity to fall into performative works based religion, rather faith-based relationship!
Likewise, it may not seem like a big thing to you ( or it may even appear like it’s in alignment) but as Paul notes, if it is not judged it is like yeast where a tiny bit permeates the whole loaf! We must nip this thing in the bud!
As we bring these things to God, He will keep us from believing whatever may cause us to detour, AND HE will judge the person who caused the confusion. So thankful that God gives us counsel and provides these course corrections to keep us on the path of Freedom #Thankful
“So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.” Galatians 5:1 NLT
When I read Galatians 5 at the end of October, I was really provoked to study it during this November, my birthday month, because so many verses were encouraging, spoke to self reflection, and walking in freedom! Holy Spirit Activate!
From the first verse, it starts off with a bang, proclaiming now that Christ has set us free, we need to make sure we STAY FREE! This means we have do our part in maintaining the freedom that Christ brings! And the first thing to avoid is not getting entangled in the legalistic performance based mindset of earning our way to freedom. The law of do’s and dont’s. And it says don’t get tied up AGAIN, which means that is is something that we have struggled with before. It takes effort to cast off old mindsets, unhealthy beliefs, etc to fully embrace that Christ brings!
Now thankfully, the scriptures tell us that His burden is light and that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. If we keep our focus on Christ Jesus, we are consumed with His light, His glory, His peace, His limitless possibilities and those former things no longer have power over us. Hallelujah!
Galatians 5 verses in a nutshell in following posts: ✨Stay Free ✨Who is holding you Back? ✨Use your freedom to Serve ✨Live by the Spirit ✨Fruit of the Spirit in you ✨Follow the Spirit’s Leading
“Only a simpleton would not know, and only a fool would not understand this: Though the wicked sprout like weeds and evildoers flourish, they will be destroyed forever.” Psalms 92:6-7 NLT
This first made me laugh because my mother used the word “simpleton”. Don’t let this be you. lol!
In this passage, the Psalmist takes a brief detour for a brief PSA to say- Don’t be stupid! He has harsh words when we take our eyes off of the glory and majesty of God and start looking at why bad people seem to get ahead. He makes it plain: only those of low intelligence or foolish/ unwise would not know that the wicked will be cut down forever, even though it seems that they are prospering now. Don’t fall into that trap!
Now more than ever, this timely & relevant reminder to keep our attention on the Lord resonates. Evil is all around and so many terrible cruel people seem to be getting away with it. But God doesn’t want us to be concerned with this. He tells us in Romans 12:19, “…Vengeance is mine, I will repay.” We are to keep our hearts and mind focused on the goodness and omnipotence of God, trusting that He will take care of us and them.
“The Lord curses the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the upright. The Lord mocks the mockers but is gracious to the humble. The wise inherit honor, but fools are put to shame!” Proverbs 3:33-35 NLT
As we close out the final verses of Proverbs 3, we see that unlike the previous verses there is no command,or exhortation, but a listing of stark consequences to those who honor God and His precepts and those who choose unrighteousness. These are spiritual realities that are also mentioned previously in Proverbs and most notably in Deuteronomy 30, so that we understand that there are consequences to the decisions and choices we make. As Deut.30:19 says so poignantly, “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!”
The Lord not only detests the wicked, but He curses the entire household of the wicked included their dealings and concerns. People who willfully harm are far from the heart of God and bring misfortune not only on themselves but their families. However, God blesses the home, the habitation, of the upright, those who follow Him. This chapter already highlights the benefits of God’s principles and He brings those temporal (physical) and spiritual blessings to the entire households of the upright.
Likewise, those who mock and pridefully scorn God’s precepts and others, bring down the Lord’s scorn on themselves. But again, we see that God extends His abundant grace and favor to those who are humble, who yield to His counsel and serve others. Humility also means that we learn to trust God and seek His help when challenges or uncertainty arise. God extends his grace and blessing to those who trust Him.
The final verse of Proverbs 3 closes with the honor ( and glory) that comes when we operate and align our lives with wisdom and God’s principles. Solomon leaves his audience with the lasting inheritance of favor that wisdom brings that has generational impact. But the foolish, or “self-confident fools” receive a legacy of shame. Because they ridicule or ignore what is right and just, they bring about dishonor and contempt.
Lord, help us to trust in You alone, and help us to embrace all wisdom to learn, act and walk in Your principles, precepts that lead to life, abundance, grace and blessing not only for ourselves, but for our families, neighbors and our communities. Our desire is to honor and please you with our lives always.
“Don’t plot harm against your neighbor, for those who live nearby trust you. Don’t pick a fight without reason, when no one has done you harm.” Proverbs 3:29-30 NLT
In this passage Solomon is going deeper to say that not only do our actions matter ( previous verses) but our motives matter! Heb 4:12 says “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Wisdom prunes and molds our character so we can be transformed in Gods image.
Sometimes we do things for others yet secretly hold resentment against them. Don’t allow thoughts of ill will or revenge get in your heart, especially those closer to you. The scripture uses the word neighbor, because it’s those people that are in our nearby community- it could be our families, friends, classmates, and colleagues at work. These people in our lives trust us, and we shouldn’t betray that trust! Jesus defined neighbor even further in the Good Samaritan parable, saying our neighbor is anyone who crosses our path in need. Our motives toward our neighbor should always be to bless, love, and support.
Additionally, even though we get frustrated sometimes, we shouldn’t take that out on others. My mother used to say, “hurt or unhappy people, hurt other people.” At no time should we instigate a fight with anyone who has not harmed us. Proverbs 16:32 says “He who is slow to anger is better than a warrior, and he who controls his temper is greater than one who captures a city.”
Situations come to test us, and how we respond shows us what is in our hearts. Jer. 17:9 says that the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick. It causes us, many times through rash emotions, so do many things we later regret. That is why we must meditate on the Word of God to let it penetrate to the core of who we are and let it transform us from the inside out. David prayed in Ps 139 “Search me,God, know my heart: try me, know my thoughts: see if there be any wicked way in me, lead me in the way everlasting.”
“Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them. If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say, “Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.”” Proverbs 3:27-28 NLT
If I could sum of this passage, it would be, if you have the power to give, help, or support someone, DO IT NOW! It commands us to not deny helping someone when we can, but also don’t delay to help someone when you can do it today.
It is clearly the heart of God and a key attribute of wisdom to be responsive to needs of others. Earlier in this chapter, it talks about honoring God with our wealth and increase. He gives to us so we can give to others – WITHOUT DELAY.
All of the preceding verses focus on how wisdom benefits us, and now it shifts to how we should benefit others. Wisdom, understanding, knowledge, common sense and discernment should especially govern how we interact with other people. “God helps those who help themselves” is NOT scriptural. “Pull yourself us by your own bootstraps” is not scriptural – especially when folks don’t even have boots. We serve a generous God, who lavishly pours out His blessings on us, and with an open hand we are to release those blessings to others.
May God’s wisdom propel us to be urgently responsive to the needs of others, especially our neighbors , family and those in close proximity to us. Lord, remove the barriers of selfishness, lack, judgement, so that we truly came be conduits + vessels of grace, blessing to a world that desperately needs You.
“My child, don’t lose sight of common sense and discernment. Hang on to them, for they will refresh your soul. They are like jewels on a necklace.
– They keep you safe on your way-
– and your feet will not stumble.
– You can go to bed without fear;
– you will lie down and sleep soundly.
– You need not be afraid of sudden disaster or the destruction that comes upon the wicked,
– for the Lord is your security.
– He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap.” Proverbs 3:21-26 NLT
When I read this passage a few weeks ago, it was like I had seen it for the first time and I wrote it down in my notes exactly like I did above. It was like reading the back of a medicine box of all cures and symptom relief that comes from taking the medicine. Wisdom relieves/ treats anxiety, stabilizes your footing, promotes good sleep, and utmost wellbeing in the midst of challenging circumstances.
Having just described the invaluable, incomparable and foundational attributes of wisdom, understanding & knowledge in previous verses, Solomon exhorts us to keep them in our sight, very close around our necks as we would anything of precious value. They are an adornment in that they beautify and enhance also.
There has been so much fear mongering in the culture these days that have caused so much fear and unease across the world. But Common sense and discernment have keeping power, like a preservative, life jacket/ or life line that rock climbers use. They keep you safe and keep your you from tripping over things life may bring in your path.
Being rooted in God’s safety brings sweet rest – the ability to not only to get to sleep, but to stay asleep soundly. There is no need to be on edge, because we are established in God’s principles, rather than focusing on circumstances. Likewise, WHEN ( not if) challenging times come suddenly or the wicked do terrible things, we don’t have to fear at all because, the Lord is our security and He will keep us ( our foot) from being ensnared or stumbling. I’m also reminded of Ps 91:12, when God sends His angles to hold us up, so our foot will not “get dashed” on a stone.
Biblical references to feet often signify whether life choices were made with sound contemplation and discernment. People walked everywhere, so it was the primary means of transportation. Terrain and pathways were very important and God often references His Word and His wisdom of not only illuminating the right path, but also providing a stable foundation on sometimes rocky terrain.
Lord, thank you for your divine protection, security and direction as we go about our days. Help us to always keep your principles “front and center” so that we can walk daily in calm, confident assurance an trust in You.
“By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; by his knowledge the watery depths were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew.” Proverbs 3:19-20 NIV
This passage really provoked me as it clearly illustrates the preeminence of Wisdom, which the Lord himself used to lay the foundations of the earth. Prior to these verses, Solomon compares wisdom to man’s earthly values (riches etc), but here, wisdom is presented as God’s divine creative instrument to establish the world. Additionally, by the Lord’s Understanding and His knowledge, God hones, shapes and molds the heavens and the waters ( below and above).
Wisdom, understanding, and knowledge are creative elements we can use to speak life, give form and resources to whatever is needed. This passage infers both Genesis when God created the earth and John 1:1 when Jesus is the Word of God made flesh from the beginning. These attributes are part of who God is and this same wisdom that provides direction, brings wealth etc, is also the same that created the universe. As we walk in wisdom, we become one with God’s creation, and have access to the creative dynamic power of God and His divine design. Meditate on this awesome principle!
“Her ways are highways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who lay hold on her; and happy (blessed, fortunate, to be envied) is everyone who holds her fast.” Proverbs 3:17-18 AMPC https://www.bible.com/8/pro.3.17-18.ampc
On my morning walks or on road trips, I am often delightfully surprised by what I see & experience along the way. Wisdom provides direction and guidance to “delightful” paths or as the amplified version says, “highways of pleasantness” and satisfying peace. The process of gaining wisdom/ understanding is not drudgery, but it guides us to pleasant, delightful & peaceful paths. In fact, wisdom illuminates those paths like a lamp/ flashlight in the dark.
Wisdom is the tree of life to those who embrace her. We are plugged in to the eternal wellspring of joy, happiness when we hold on, and blessed when we cling tightly. An embrace is warm close hug normally with a loved one or someone you care about. But when you give or get a little squeeze with that hug, you feel the flood of well-being, love and happiness in knowing how much you are cared for. That flood of blessing and happiness is what happens when we cling to wisdom. As the Amplified version says, we are blessed, fortunate, to be envied.
What wonderful imagery Solomon paints of wisdom. The gospel is relational, personal and requires close proximity to God, His principals and God’s people.