Today’s readings.. Numbers19, Proverbs 14, Galations 5&6
In every generation there are things which hinder people from living their lives in God’s way. Our chapter in Proverbs lists many positives and their counterpart negatives in human behaviour. “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people” [14 v.34] In past centuries we can see how, when the Bible was printed, the countries in which it was widely read – many people tried to live godly lives. The U.S.A. had a reputation for this, led by those who came to this new world in the 17th and 18th Centuries, sometimes they were seeking religious freedom to live according to God’s word instead of the traditional Christianity practised in most of Europe: sadly the U S A’s reputation has been badly tarnished since those days.
Looking at Proverbs again, “In the fear (awe) of the LORD one has strong confidence, it is a fountain of life” [v.26,27] When we direct our minds to the reality of God and establish a relationship with him, then our lives develop a wonderful positiveness. We completed the reading of Galatians and some of Paul’s words make this point. But we see how he is most concerned about the influence of those who want the Galatians to obey the Mosaic Law and practice circumcision. He writes, “You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the Truth?” [5 v.7] We do not have their problems today but there are many others! We each need to ask ourselves, ‘Is anything hindering me from being obedient to Christ?’ Note how Paul states that “the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘you shall love your neighbour as yourself’” [v.14]
Whether we achieve this depends on whether we produce ‘the fruit of the Spirit” which “is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” [v.22-24]
Is anything hindering you from developing more and more of these fruits? Let us all prove we “belong to Christ.”