Identity Crisis

  1. Message:  Galatians 1 begins with a typical “grace and peace” greeting from the apostle Paul, but this letter got to the point pretty quick when he told them he was “amazed” that they were quickly turning from the gospel to another gospel. He qualified this statement immediately by acknowledging that there isn’t actually another gospel, but people had come in and distorted the purity of the gospel with other ideas. Paul very bluntly made sure there was no room for entertaining this when he said “cursed is the one” who would preach anything other than the original gospel. This wasn’t up for debate and Paul challenged them by asking if the intent was to please people or to please God. As I read this I thought about all of the challenges in our world today and how we are so tempted to morph the gospel into something that neatly fits the approval of people. I see people using scripture to back their political ideas and social justice beliefs as our society polarizes itself. This raises questions within my own heart when I think about this because I wonder what my real motives my be. When we believe something, it becomes a part of our identity. When our beliefs are challenged, we take it personally because we have identified so deeply with our beliefs that any assault against our ideas becomes an assault against us personally. Since we don’t like being rejected, we have a tendency to start interpreting parts of the gospel in a way that we believe may be more palatable to people. We might even believe we are defending the gospel when we do this, but we may just be defending ourselves so that we can hold onto the gospel and to the approval of people at the same time. If I’m honest, there are parts of the bible that make me incredibly uncomfortable. That is to be expected since I am human and I don’t have the mind of God. I think we get into trouble when we attempt to explain away the uncomfortable, instead of accept the discomfort for our growth. When we do this we are really just altering the gospel to fit our comfort and console ourselves from rejection. This really challenged me and I pray that I would brave enough to allow God to use the gospel to change me instead of trying to change the meaning of the gospel.

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