“Have you lost your joy? Paul sensed that the Galations had lost the joy of their salvation because of legalism. Legalism can take away joy because (1) it makes people feel guilty rather than loved; (2) it produces self-hatred rather than humility; (3) it stresses performance over relationship; (4) it points out how far short we fall rather than how far we’ve come because of what Christ did for us. If you feel guilty and inadequate, check your focus. Are you living by faith in Christ or by trying to live up to the demands and expectations of others?” -Endnote for Galatians 4 (Life Application Study Bible, NASB)
Legalism: strict adherence, or the principle of strict adherence, to law or prescription, especially to the letter rather than the spirit. (Source)
Faith: strong or unshakeable belief in something, esp. without proof or evidence (Source)
As I scroll through Facebook at finger-swiping speed on my iPad, and glance at articles of information flying by, I stop to realize that I have misread a piece of info COMPLETELY wrong. I then, scan my eyes over the short write-up to make sure I am grasping the Facebook post correctly.
Me: “I have noticed that when I quickly scan through a short online post, I am not reading the same words that were originally typed. It’s like they get twisted into something else when I don’t really care to take the time reading.”
God: “Have you not glanced at people in the same way and misread them? Too quick of a look and you judge their character wrong.”
Me: “What should I do?”
God: “Get to know them. Truly read them.”
Me: “Read them?”
God: “How do you read a book that you want to spend time getting to know its story?”
Me: “I study the cover and its summary to find hidden storylines that give hint to what’s inside the book and then I read its contents to verify the cover.”
God: “And you do guess right by what you saw on the cover?”
Me: “…not always. At times, I have been assuming the opposite of what the truth really is but with people…I have been wrong about them on many occasions.”
God: “What’re you going to do about it?”
Me: “Well, I know Someone with x-ray vision Who is willing and able to see through fleshly covers and dive deep into the pages of people’s characters.”
End thought: “Put on your ‘Jesus X-ray glasses’ and see deeper than the cover…the Facebook post…and other social media outlets.”
“I cannot go on like this,” said the girl, overwhelmed by life itself.
God: Trust…in Me. Take day by day for life is full of sorrows by waiting and yearning for tomorrow. When people drain you, do not wallow in your dehydration. I am the living water; I will fill you up.
When people suck the air out of you, I will breathe into the breath of life. When people are like a storm threatening to break and beat you down, remember that you are built upon the rock. Do not let the enemy deceive you into believing you are built upon the sand!
Take off your spectacles for I have already given you sight…do not believe that you must earn all my blessings. I am not like people around you. I give freely…you just have to open your present and don’t let the enemy steal it from you.
Do not fear in what you may lose, but hope in what you will gain.
Inadequacy is a lie. You are made perfect in the Greatest Sacrifice. I will call you accordingly to how I made you. Do you not believe that your interests are important to Me? Far from it! I love you and I will use you…use you in your uniqueness. Trust in Me.
Side note: You may talk to God about the pebble in your shoe, and He will address the rocky area where you traveled. He knows what you’ve been through…what you’re going through. The pebble will become heavier the longer you hold onto it.
Take time to speak to God…go for a walk by a stream and skip rocks across the water (throw your pebble out while you’re at it!).
The battles you are fighting are never small
For you must practice climbing hills before mountains so tall
From far away the high cliffs look scary and steep
But as you take the first step, you realize you are no longer weak
Now, it seems more possible to accomplish what you once desired
Facing your fear; walking away from the eternal fire
Strengthen your legs as you follow Him
By starting in the valley and hills that lead to the mountain
Do not feel the failure when you trip and fall
For the One who is with you can and will heal all
The high cliffs are just the beginning of earth’s end
There is yet a greater journey just around the bend
Where sorrow and tears will flow no more
As we stand in front of heaven’s open doors
So, let us start this adventure that is ahead
And follow the One who died for us and freely bled
I once was an artichoke, keeping my petals tight and firm
But then the heat of the day made my green shield waver and squirm
Thankfully the Gardner came to my aid
Watering my roots as I began to fade
Then something happened I did not expect
The Gardner picked me from my bush and I began to fret
My prickly petals were trimmed of their spikes
And I was put into boiling water…losing my strength; my might
I fought as hard as I could but the hot water surrounded me
Causing my petals and heart to become tender as I thought they would never be
I was plucked from the heat, exhausted and weak
Too tired to put up a fight…my future looked very bleak
The Gardner then pulled my petals away
Leaving my heart for all to see on display
Now, I understand what it means to let my petals go
And have a tender heart for everyone to see and everyone to know
It took being refined by heat
And the Garndner’s hands that trimmed me so neat
Yes, there are times when I yearn for my petals to be near
But with my Gardner by my side, I have nothing to fear