Galatians: Day 9

Slaves No More

by

Today's Text: Galatians 4:8-31, Genesis 16:1-16, Romans 8:1-4

“I do it—me!” Each of my kids around the age of two or three hit a stage when they dug in their heels and wanted to click themselves into their car seats without any help. What normally would take a matter of seconds often ended up taking what felt like hours. Frustration became tears as their tiny hands did not possess enough strength or coordination to maneuver the plastic clips and buckles.

In today’s reading from Paul’s letter, I find myself wondering why the believers in Galatia would return to the ways of bondage under the law. Why would they subject themselves to seek justification through their own efforts instead of through faith? How did they choose to turn back to “weak and bankrupt elemental forces” (Galatians 4:9)? And then I remember how I am prone to follow down the same path, insisting like an independent toddler, “I do it—me!”

Six years ago I found myself flat on my back in our master bedroom memorizing the quirky design of the popcorn ceiling. Surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation for breast cancer treatment took my body to lows I had never experienced before. I could no longer function in ministry or contribute to help our family. I felt guilt and shame over my lack of productivity. With “serving God” removed from my to-do list, I struggled and I questioned if God really loved and accepted me apart from my good works.

I found this old adage to be true: the longest distance is between the head and the heart.

Perhaps the Galatians became mislead because of ignorance, or perhaps those tangible works of observing days and months and seasons and years (Galatians 4:10) provided a false sense of security and control.

As I reflect on my own struggles, I realize the “I do it—me!” approach actually felt good because the transaction of works fed my pride. Grace and freedom through Jesus initially felt risky and uncertain because my faith no longer rested in my controlling ways but in Christ.

Pride and self-sufficiency leads to living out our faith in our own efforts. Even Abraham, our hero of the faith from Hebrews 11, struggled with this. When it looked like God might not give Abraham and Sarai the son He promised them, Abraham arranged to conceive a child with his wife’s servant, Hagar. His attempt at self-sufficiency produced a lineage of slavery, while the child born of God’s promise became the lineage of Christ (Genesis 16).

Left to ourselves and left to our self-centered ways, we are without hope. However, the sweetness of the gospel restores and makes right, adopting us into the lineage of those who are free. True freedom is found in our relationship with Jesus.

Paul says it so well in his letter to the Romans:

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did; sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the requirement of the Laws might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
- Romans 8:1-4

While the natural development of my kids is to increase and grow in their abilities and to function independently (I’m happy to inform you, two of the three kids drive and we no longer possess car seats!), maturity in the Christian life actually looks like increased faith and dependence.

We begin our relationship with God by faith, we are justified by faith, and we are filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit by faith.

Father, may our lives be marked by increased faith and dependence on the One who knows us and calls us by name. Amen.

Vivian Mabuni is an author and speaker, and a sushi, white Christmas lights, coffee-with-friends-lover. She has been on staff with Cru (formerly Campus Crusade for Christ) for 26 years and serves with Epic Movement, the Asian-American ministry of Cru. Vivian is the author of Warrior In Pink: A Story of Cancer, Community and the God Who Comforts.

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  • God just won’t let me escape the book of Galatians lately – it shows up everywhere I look, so I’ve begun really studying it. He’s been showing me just how wrong legalism is, which is something I was raised to believe was a “true” form of religion. I think I’m learning that service to Christ comes naturally from a growing relationship with him, and not as a condition or supplement to salvation. That’s a wonderful freedom to live in!

  • Alexandra

    This really speaks to me, as I struggle with finding my identity in pride and independence. I’m focusing on depending on God this week!

  • Dependence as a mark of maturity. We often get that wrong. We think independence is the goal and that’s where we fall. Maybe I should use personal pronouns here. That’s where I fall. But remembering that I’m not made to do it is such an unexpected comfort. God is in control. And he’s much better at it than I could ever be.

  • Aliciajo

    “…my faith no longer rested in my controlling ways but in Christ.” I am catching up after falling behind, and this entire series is speaking to my heart. Thank you for ministering a hard, straight Word that is teaching me to grow up!

  • Kasey Summers

    Slaves no more!!! I love the new song out about how we are no longer slaves but a child of God!!! It’s my morning get going jam! So thankful there is now NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!!!

  • Anna Buchanan

    It is oh so hard to grow in dependence. It is painful and risky just like Vivian said. May we trust that God does not leave us in this process. He walks alongside us as we learn to trust Him.

    • Jessie

      It’s hard when we are taught to be independent, to see dependence as a good thing and then to actively work to be more dependent. Maybe harder still is setting aside the time it takes to grow in dependence on God. This study has been a great exercise for me in that.

  • For most of my life I saw the “law” as something I was supposed to fulfill. It was a heavy weight. Reading bible verses and then measuring myself up against it: “I did that today! I didn’t do that. I did that part of the way…” As I have grown, I have learned that I can fulfill no rule or law completely…Thanks to Jesus’s blood I no longer have to be a slave to sin, but I still choose sin. The good news is: He sent His son to fulfill all the rules on my behalf. He took my debt I could never pay and gave me His perfect record. Let’s take the rules off our walls and replace them with this good news! The law is our mirror that says we don’t match up and Christ’s life and death our fulfillment that says we do!

  • Chelsea M

    Loved this

  • Andrea H

    I was totally convicted about how trying to do this myself feeds my pride.

  • michelle of LA CA

    We begin our relationship with God by faith, we are justified by faith, and we are filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit by faith.
    This is pretty powerful ~ Thank you for your writing

  • Phyllis Derrick

    Lord thank you for giving me faith to believe and to know to depend solely on you. Lord help me grow closer and give it all to you because you are my problem solver. You are my everything. Help me live life as you would have me to. Let my life be pleasing to you by faith, your gift to me! Praise you Jesus!

  • “maturity in the Christian life actually looks like increased faith and dependence.”

    Whew! That one hit me like a ton of bricks. Being a mature Christian isn’t saying” I got this.” It’s standing back and saying “God, I know YOU have this… And I and waiting on You.”

    I have work to do.

  • I so appreciate this message today. Simple faith and yet difficult to achieve at times.

  • I like to do, do, do like my own toddler. So this hits home with me. Need to let, let, let!

  • This is HARD for me guys. To trust Jesus as my salvation…and to not be self-reliant. Because even my faith (when I'm told to believe God) I look inward into myself to believe. Like I have to conjure it up in me and if its not there (which is always or it feels meek and unstable) I feel hopeless. I'm guilty of this whether I feel guilty or not.

    Rest. I am on the receiving end.
    ugh. Help guys.

  • "His attempt at self-sufficiency produced a lineage of slavery, while the child born of God’s promise became the lineage of Christ,"
    This line is what struck me the most today of everything, it is so very, very true. My self-sufficiency produces slavery, my slavery. It keeps me in bondage, keeps me from enjoying the freedom of being God's loved child.

  • I love verse 1 "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." I've spent the last year struggling, fighting and trying to right a situation in my life on my own terms. But God hasn't condemned me. He has patiently and lovingly been changing my heart even when I've been a slave to my own works and ideas. I've been continually turned back to trusting Him.
    My small ones also like to buckle themselves in. I, however, never just leave them to it, hop in the driver's seat and go with never a look to see if they're safe or not. I stay there with them. I offer encouragement and suggestions as they attempt this new skill. When they really struggle and look up at me for help, I'm there. Not necessarily to take over and do all for them but to help in a more involved way. Putting my hands on theirs and doing the buckles together. Getting them to where they need to be to move forward. Thank you Lord for doing the same for us.

  • Diane Huntsman

    Part of our service being necessary mentality to win Gods favor is due to the church emphasizing our value based upon our service.. As a long time veteran servant, when I hit a dark time in life and allowed bitterness to get the better of me, I had to be honest and step back, I couldn’t teach women to love one another when enslaved in my own den of iniquity.. After going to the pastor and his wife and confessing my sin and need to step away to get my heart right, I told them we were going to attend another church because being there and not being able to serve was to hard.. I needed to focus on getting right.. Well I genuinely felt that because I was no longer serving or useful to the body there, I was no longer valuable.. 12 years of service and dedication was only appreciated when I was healthy.. A time of spiritual sickness was my walking papers and I never heard from those church members again.. So the message for me was that I needed to serve to be a vital link to the family of God.. I couldn’t have an issue with sin in my life because that was just to messy.. Church, let’s help one another and reinforce Gods heart that what you do is not linked to how you are valued or wanted.. We are confusing the heck out of one another preaching one thing from a pulpit and treating each other contrary to the teaching of Scripture.. Now I am so scared to serve again because I do not ever want to feel my worth is in what I do for others or for God, my worth is in what Christ has done for me, period. It’s a tragic reality in many churches today, we life the servants onto high pedestals and we just know in our heart of hearts that God values them so much more for what they do for Him and long to be like them so we too can be loved more by Him. It’s twisted and unbiblical but a reality nonetheless. My experience anyways, and now the thing a fight against often.

    • Lava

      Diane I completely agree. For the last year I’ve been “retired” from church work after teaching/serving from the ripe old age of 12 until I was 28. Im learning to rest and know God this year. I’m sorry you felt useless because you couldn’t serve. I hope you’re receiving rest and comfort now and know that God loves you for who you are and not what you do in church.

      • Diane Huntsman

        Thank you for the kind response! Yes! I am learning that He loves me even if I’m not serving in some grand way!

  • [email protected]

    "Father, may our lives be marked by increased faith and dependence on the One who knows us and calls us by name. Amen."

    What a beautiful prayer and truly the desire of my heart. <3

  • Two years ago God took me out of my ministries. ,(underscore MY because they were mine not his, not yet) I was diagnosed with a cavernous malformation on my brain stem. To make a long story short, I had a stroke at 40 years old. This bleed resulted in a loss of some vocal range and because of surgery I was kept from leading the youth group for several months. Unable to serve on the worship team and be with the kids was a blow to my pride. I watched God do amazing things without my help! He doesn't need me, he wants me. He wants to show me I'm nothing without him. Today I've returned to ministry but with a new perspective, I'm relying on him for the work. My voice is never going to be the same, but it doesn't matter, God uses it anyway but now I KNOW its not me. Working with the kids is a beautiful thing and I'm so grateful He sees fit to let me be there, watching His great work in their lives. Oh! I love being dependant.

  • So often that is my outlook. Mm words for the soul today. ❤️

  • I needed this one today. I look at my frailties and think “if I could have done that,” or “if I could only have helped out more” but I need to not worry about what I am or am not able to do. I do my best, as unto Him, and all is ok. We sometimes put way to much credit into what we’re doing with our own hands. It is not our works, but our discipline. He knows our hearts and we need to stop worrying about what the others that we serve alongside are thinking. At least I know that’s what I need to do.

    • [email protected]

      Yes, Ann! We are called to be faithful and to have faith that He will do the rest. There is so much peace in that!

  • Let’s let go and let God today! Happy Tuesday!

  • As I'm reading this devotion, I literally have a toddler at my feet that is struggling with something but saying, "me do it!" and refusing help. Yes, that is a fitting analogy!

    (…and now I'm back from a break that included chasing said (naked) toddler though the house…sigh)

    Anyway, I attended a Bible study earlier this year that gave me a little different insight into Abram & Sarai. Abram was given the promise from God, but God didn't mention Sarai specifically in that initial promise. Abram was 86 when Ishmael was born. He was 99 when God spoke to him again and said that Sarai would be called Sarah & would conceive. So at least 13 years passed between the first promise of descendants and the time Sarah was included. It makes me understand a little better why Sarai would give her servant to conceive a child. They were still taking things in their own hands, but from their limited perspective they thought it made sense. How often do I think that way? I don't understand what God is doing, so I do what makes sense to me. But God's thoughts aren't like mine and His ways are different. Praying that I would just trust in Him and stop relying on my limited perspective.

    • Tols

      What you’ve pointed out is so true! I never looked at it from that perspective before…just thought to myself ‘why didn’t she just wait?! All the strife that followed after was because she was too darn fast’. However, it also reminded me of how hard I find it to wait sometimes regarding a promise. Constantly fighting the ‘I want it now’, ‘let me just do it myself’ and ‘let me help God a bit’ spirit which can never be the adequate partner of faith. Faith demands patience. It’s so hard, because elongated periods of time with no breakthrough tends to chip away at your faith. I keep praying to God, ‘help my unbelief’, that He should help me to remember that it’s already done, and that He has not given me a spirit of fear, anxiety and worry. No, he already conquered all of that. I just need to keep believing that by faith.

  • Anxiety is a constant companion in recent years, and this makes me so sad. I doubt, I struggle, and I "worst case scenario" everything. I pray for increased faith-mustard-sized faith would be a tremendous victory! And I continually strive to increase that faith of my own accord. So, God, I pray to trust you. I lay down my fears and worries and struggles and doubts…it is so much easier to keep them close and cling. However, I pray to let them go and trust in you-embrace the freedom that you bring.

    • Meghan

      Praying that you find the support and care you need from the church and beyond.

      Jesus + nothing= everything. You are in a spot of dependence in Christ. God is where He wants you. Hugs to you, Sarah.

  • I’m an only child and have always been a worrywart over my parents.

    In 2013 my deepest worry was confirmed when my mom got cancer of the head and neck; rare, treacherous, and with prolonged side effects no one could have ever anticipated. My father and I had no control, none, and we leaned on Christ during that time like He was our life raft on our sinking ship. He pulled us through…but often times I struggle with continued and even strengthened faith. Now, I worry about my father, only a few months from retirement and suffering from severe osteoarthritis. Tomorrow I leave for the first time in 10 years to see my family abroad (meeting my mom) and I can’t even get excited because I’m so scared something will happen to him. Then I think I’m actually sinning and offending God for doubting Him, especially after how much He’s done for us already. I am so flawed!

    I prayed for God to protect my father while I’m gone and this morning found myself repeating the words “I trust you God to take care of my dad” over and over again.

    Sisters, could you offer a prayer for my family? We need healing, spiritual and emotional.

    • Misty

      Praying that God gives you peace in knowing that HE has been the one taking care of your dad all along and that it will become an eye opener that God is in control whether you are at your fathers side or miles away. Praying for you! Enjoy yourself!

    • Lea

      God is so much more than comfort, but I’m praying He gives your family that and all else that is needed for His will.

    • mamajonk

      Praying for you and your family. Trusting that the healing you seek will be poured out on you from our loving Savior.

    • marsha

      keep saying and BELIEVING that, joanna. god has a plan for your dad. trust that all things will work for the good of that plan. please try and have a beautiful trip!

  • A thought that comes after recognizing in Vivian´s writing that I, too, feed my pride with good works. My inclination is then, "So how do I fix it?". Do I just stop doing these works?

    These thing I do aren´t sinful– the attitude with which I do them is. I truly see them as good disciplines that I would be wrong to leave.

    Anyone else struggling in that space?

    • Laura

      Yes, I struggle to find this balance. I think it just means a mindset of continual repentance and surrender. And heart checks of: if this failed, if I did stop, it wouldn’t change how God feels about me! More prayer is a good way to check for real dependence…we don’t really pray when we feel like we don’t really need Him….

  • heidibethstjohn

    I was convicted of this shortly after grad-school when I had anxiety running my life into an eating disorder, OCD, and near full-on agoraphobia. ALL of the motivation was a works-based mentality. And I grew up in a "saved by grace" church! However as my eyes began to be opened to the actual concept of grace, I began to see how even in our grace-based churches, we're getting it wrong. We're welcoming the "sinner" to be saved by grace through faith, and THEN putting them on this wheel of works in order to stay "good enough". It's an epidemic. We become pharisees. And it's so ugly. We basically have recreated the "temple-model" of faith, just added a first-step of receiving Christ as our Savior. It's not how we were called to live. And it takes the greatness of His sacrifice in vain.
    A thought about grace occurred to me a few years back — we treat it like a safety net — when I can't save myself, it's there to catch me until I can start the work of doing it all myself again. When in fact – praise God! – it's there to be a hammock. Something to daily, moment by moment REST in! To enjoy and sit with our God and bask in His unending, wholehearted, adoring love that He has for His children. It's such a beautiful picture and I hope that we can exemplify it more and more, that we can give this world a true picture of what His saving grace IS! =)

  • As the daughter of parents who used alcohol to cope with life, I learned early on to depend on myself. Because of that, learning to trust in Jesus, believing He loves me no matter what, will never ever leave me, will lead me into freedom….in short, to have FAITH…this has been so so hard. I’ve been a lover of Jesus for over 20 years now and still struggle with trusting that He’ll take care of me and that I don’t have to do it, earn it, work for it all on my own. Grace, faith, trust…all gifts I have trouble receiving. But I’m learning, slowly.

    • ~ B ~

      My husband is the adult child of an alcoholic. His father died when my husband was just a teen and his mother had/has her own ways of coping with things. I completely understand how this could have you running towards depending on yourself. People in this world are so fallible. Which just makes God's precious gift of an infallible Jesus beyond wild. It shows a deep, transcending, mad about you, kind of love that guarantees we can trust Him. We live in a world that requires we gain each other's trust, it teaches us to seek out and spend time with only those we know and can trust, yet He delivered His son to a people He knew weren't trustworthy. He knew we would abuse Jesus, cast Him aside and treat Him deplorably, yet He remains…steadfast. A watchman over our hearts and lives, ready to take our hand and walk us through this life. Thankful for your journey in this, for your love of Jesus and the knowledge that no matter how long it takes us, He never leaves. ~ B

  • That very last paragraph sums up this devotional so well. In the flesh we are meant to mature as independent beings but life in the spirit means maturing in our faith and dependence on God. It's the tension we live in daily and I just pray that the Lord increase my faith as I learn to depend on him more and more.

  • There is an opportunity I need to move on today. And this morning my feet feel like lead. All too often, I do fall back into the captivity of my own mind. The lies whirling, consuming any sign of truth, of life. My faith wavers and I am tossed about by the waves. In hesitation and honesty, this is how I typically begin my days – fighting the lies. And the biggest lie of all is that I am in this alone. When life feels emptied out, uncertain, out of control it’s easy to become a slave to this horrendous lie. To throw my hands in the air and give up to my circumstances. But by the grace of God, I don’t.
    At first, the daily fight felt in my control. So each day I would put on my gloves of self sufficiency and pride. Ready to go to work. To fill these places on my own. Over time, I was exhausted. Nothing was filled and I felt weak and powerless. I couldn’t do it alone.
    So, I chose to just stop. Step back, take a break. The break got comfortable and the voices in my head grew louder. “Ugh, why God? My intentions are good. Why?” I move, fall. Get up. Move again, fall harder. But this is the place. The place of surrender. When I realize I can’t do this anymore, take off my fighting gloves, and draw near to Him. Because nothing looks the same anymore. Not even my own heart.
    And the most beautiful truth is that He was with me all along. I was never alone. I may wander. I may distance myself from His love, but that does mean He is not still loving me. Because He is still loving me, even and especially now. Other glorious truths I forget: He is for me. He is with me. The real battle that matters has already been won. No longer a slave to myself or this world, I am free. Walk in freedom. Walk in grace.
    So, today, I have this opportunity to move on. In trepidation, with trembling and mustard seeds of faith & hope… Praying *only* His truths fill my mind. Praying for humility and courage and grace. So much grace.
    Praying you all have a beautiful day – wherever you are, whatever your circumstances – walking in His glorious freedom and grace. Because He is walking with you too. Grateful that in Him we are never without His perfect love.

    • Joanna

      Amen!

    • ~ B ~

      Prayerful over you especially today Beverly! As you move into the new opportunity and take steps that may feel like stepping onto water….but you are absolutely right. God is with you and He won't leave you to fend for yourself. Keep walking His way, He won't fail you. Though we falter, He never does. ~ B

    • shereadstruth

      Beverly, thank you so much for this encouragement! Praying the same for you today, sister. Walk in His glorious freedom and grace!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

    • Meghan

      Thank you for sharing. I felt very much the same lately.

      I am thankful for my weaknesses as God becomes everything. Jesus + nothing= everything.

      Praying for you. Hugs.

  • What a wonderful application of His Word this morning! We came to know him by faith, were justified and continue by faith.

    • shereadstruth

      So grateful for this truth, Megan! Thanks for joining us today!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

  • I love the parallel between Galatians 4 and Genesis 16 about Abraham, Sarah and Hagar. There are many times when I tried to fix things myself instead of having faith in God, and of course, it led to a mess that could have been avoided. As someone who has struggles with anxiety, not having control of things bothers me. I feel like if I don’t have control, nothing will go right. But, thank God that’s not the cases. I’m at the point in my life now where I just feel the conviction when I have lack of faith. It helps to me refocus my eyes on Christ and be dependent on Him. Everyday it is my prayer that I’ll remember that through Christ, I am free and I don’t need to go back and depend on my own works for that freedom. I must walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh. Sisters, please pray for me.

    On another note, one thing I struggle with is remembering what I’ve learned in my morning devotional throughout the day. Any tips on this?

    • MCE

      Journal! I often try to come away with a ingle truth from the devo or my time in prayer and I write it on my hand where I can see it as I go about my day.

      Also, depending on your schedule, come back to your journal or to SRT at lunch and before bed to review.

    • Shannon H

      Hey Angela, sometimes if something really stands out to me, I write the quote or thought on the little whiteboard on our refrigerator….then I see it throughout the day. Praying for you this morning!

  • Caroline @ In due time

    We are no longer slaves to fear — but we are a child of God!!!
    http://Www.in-due-time.com

  • "Maturity in the Christian life actually looks like increased faith and dependence."…..this is SO opposite of our natural definition of maturity! An awesome reminder this morning!

  • Kelly_Smith

    I sometimes wonder why I prefer to fall back on my good works. Vivian pegged it here: "the transaction of works fed my pride." It feels good to do good. Like my daughter on the balance beam at gymnastics, I smile wide and implore, "Look at ME!" She is so proud of her wobbly steps, her swaying back and forth. As her mom, I am proud she is up there, but I know she has hours of practice ahead of her to master that beam. My good works are clumsy and unpolished when compared to the righteousness Jesus brings. I can stand tall, covered in the grace and freedom of Christ, or I can stumble along like a child who imagines she is an Olympic gymnast. I will take grace and freedom–the perfect 10!

  • Love the thought of going from independence to dependence. Do i ever need that reminder!

  • I was thinking this morning if my need to loose my grip on any control in my life. It tends to get me in trouble so often. What seems like a great plan (because it’s all under my control) is usually wrought with problems. In my efforts to control, I don’t take other people into consideration. That leaves little room for serving others or being a blessing to them. It also keeps me blinded to God’s bigger purposes for me. My own efforts have left me in lonely places and away from the best things God has for me. Forgive me Father and help me to walk faithfully with you.

    • Joanna

      Praying for you Jenny!

    • shereadstruth

      Praying this with you, Jenny! Thanks for your honest words that resonate so much with my own heart! Blessings to you!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

  • "Pride and self-sufficiency leads to living out our faith in our own efforts."

    My son has hit a wall. That wonderful "so this kindergarten thing is a DAILY, ALL day thing?" I was torn about him going off to kindergarten in a big way and within a week, there were circumstances that both my husband and myself, as well as two we consulted, felt needed our immediate attention and we had to pull our son and place him into another school, a terrific one, with a recent opening. In a month, he started kindergarten, twice. And now, he weeps daily; when he dresses, when the car door opens at school, when I leave him at the door and during school hours, when I pick him up and at bedtime. These are not fits or tantrums, they are the quiet tears, which I find even harder to bear. He enjoys his new friends and has fun, but just feels the day is too long and he quickly explains that he misses me. What complicates it further is, his ten-year-old sister is homeschooled, he doesn't understand why he can't be. My husband and I have really felt God asking us to trust Him here, to know that this is the right thing for our son right now, but it is hard. I so desperately want to fall into "fix it mode" … I want to snatch my son up from school and have him home with me, when he tells me it is such a long day, I want to say, "It absolutely is, so no more". I fall into the dreamy state of I can handle this, I can make this all better, I can take care of my son. Each day I have to ready myself for his tears, his words and his sadness. Friends, it is hard. I know God is asking me to wait this out, I know He is daily saying, "Bets, it is okay. He is my son too. I know what I'm doing and this will be ok. I am with him." And I KNOW this, so well, but ugh, in the moments it is so easy to just take control and end the tears with my actions, but I know that it is a temporary fix. That I am only seeing the moment that is engulfed by emotion and any attempt to "fix" it would only throw myself, my son and my family into a predicament, so I wait. I wait for the day there will be no tears, the day he will bound from his school happy, the day he will go to bed with a smile on his face and the day he will say, "Momma, today was a great day!" I don't want to be Abram and Sarai here and do what my flesh wills me to. I want to sit in prayer with my Father daily, knowing that His time is efficient and His time is good. I want to feel His strength pushing me to handle this the best way and not the easiest way, to wait patiently on Him knowing full well that just as He loves me, He loves my son and that through my hearing and listening and obeying, my son will learn that too. That it is just kindergarten and that it is not a forever sentence for my sweet boy, it is a freedom to grow, to mature, to engage, to learn and that with God supporting this, that until God tells us different, this is the place for him, that he will be ok, the tears will stop, the longing will pass and that summer always comes. :) ~ B

    • Candacejo

      Oh my…not that it will make you feel any better but I have been there done that, in Cincy no less ♥ My youngest had this same struggle and every day we would drop him off you could see the tears and his struggle to choke them back. I couldn't bear it, day after day. I knew God was with him and I wanted to trust Him to provide.

      And He did. In a different way but no less miraculous. He IS with your precious little one, B, and if you feel God is telling you to wait then I believe He is working something even greater for this little guy than we can imagine. He loves him even more than you do (yes, that is possible with our God!) and He will protect his little heart. I am praying for both of you today. Much love. ♥

      • ~ B ~

        It does help N! Knowing that someone wise has endured this and that your boy is grown and good. I know this will work itself out and I know Shep will be fine, but those moments feel so heavy. I know you know. The sun rises each morning as we go. We drive right into it as if it is rising directly on the hill of his school and this morning Shep and I decided it was a little love note from God saying, "Hey Shep, I'm here and today is going to be a great day" … he received it well and I hope he holds onto it as the day passes. Thank you for your prayers over this! ~ B

    • MNmomma (heather)

      Oh man…..I so can relate…..many struggles thru the years have had me questioning our being led to be at the school (as opposed to home schooled, as I had thought I would do) – I can relate to feeling God lead us – me and our boys to being there. He has a purpose and plan for us. I admit, I have struggled with it many times, but know that I have been called upon for this purpose. The less I fight Him and embrace His plan, the more joy I find in each day, each moment…..I pray for our students and faculty as I walk the halls. I pray for my boys (who bop in to say hi almost daily)……I pray and I pray all day (in between the chaos and mayhem otherwise known as my office)…..little whispered prayers (sometimes a simple, Help me Father)….
      I pray that as the days go by, both you and your little man find peace and joy. Huge hugs to you this morning sweetie….

      • ~ B ~

        Can I just say I can picture it … you, your momma's tattered bathrobe, coffee mug and all, walking the halls, praying over the kids there. You just need fuzzy bunny slippers and you'd be good. Just saying…it would be an awesome scene, friend.

        Thank you so much for your encouragement. I know there are people in Shep's school prayerful over his day and that of the other children too. It helps to know this and to know I'm not the only one in constant conversation/prayer mode over my day and that of my loved ones. Thank you H! ~ B

    • Beverly

      What a sweet story of waiting and trusting. Of not jumping in to fix it, but offering love through the challenging things. It's a beautiful picture of how God graciously treats each of us. :) And summer does always come. I'll be prayerful over your situation and your family, B.

      • ~ B ~

        Thank you, Beverly! I hope this Tuesday (although I keep saying Wednesday) is a fantastic day for you. And that your life's picture is becoming clearer each day! ~ B

  • Candacejo

    My middle child loathed the car seat. I put him in, get all the right buckles and straps in place, and just as I would merge on to the highway he would slip his tiny little arm up through those straps, one at a time and wiggle his little bitty body up and out of the prison. I would pull over, give him a good talking to (ahem) and go through the process all over again…all in vain. It was insanity to say the least.

    But I am just like that adorable little blond-hair, blue-eyed monster. The Lord surrounds me with protection, with all I need to be safe, loved and cherished. And yet I squirm and wiggle and think there has to be an easier way or a better way…the grass is always greener, right?

    Why can I not just trust Him in ALL things when He is GOD of the universe? He flung the earth into being and organized every perfect thing on this planet. If we were just a few miles away from the sun we would freeze to death and if we were just a little closer we would burn up. But He does all things WELL and that is the way He takes care of us. He always knows what is best. We don't have to earn our rightful place with Him, the work was done at Calvary.

    Thank you for a great lesson and encouragement today! I am a child of God! ♥

    • ~ B ~

      Exactly! "He flung the earth into being and organized every perfect thing…" Why would I forget for a moment He can handle the hard stuff? So true N! ~ B

    • MNmomma (heather)

      AMEN! AMEN!

  • I have walked a journey that has given me the realization that , apart from God, I can not be whom He created me to be…Free…
    This is how I began my post that has gone for approval….
    I wonder if it was the mention of sparkly shoes that did it….lol

    Don't know how ling it will take, so for now, happy Tuesday, and I pry God's grace and peace be with you…xxx

  • I have walked a journey that has given me the realization that , apart from God, I can not be whom He created me to be…

    I have been a battered wife, a struggling single mother, I have made choices, not necessarily for the better or good, I have watched my daughter loss her battle to stay in this world, I have been abandoned by my husband for another woman, I have been alone, I now have lost my beloved father….and feel even more alone….I have swallowed these passed weeks and months, I have felt that feeling of slavery, the arms of 'what's this life all about' , I have sat, a slave to loneliness, I have raised my hand in worship, only to go home, shut the door and believe I am alone, that my life amounts to not very much… yes I have wallowed, I have had a pity party for one, …..
    But, guess what…
    No more…..can I tell you why…?
    Jesus….
    On Sunday as I sat, doing the same old, same old, I thought about my granddaughter and a promise I had made her to plant some bulbs in her little patch of garden under her bedroom window…arming my self with all things needed to do this fun job, I got to the house to find her in her jammies…I'll get ready she said…and off she went….and here as tears roll down my face, I have to tell you, I praise God, I thank Him for the gift of grands…she came back in her best skirt and top, a large bow in her hair….finished off with pink sparkly shoes…yeap, sparkly shoes…!!! I reminded her that we were going to do a dirty fun job and that sparkly probably wasn't the best way to go…she said, 'but I want to look my best…and sparkly shoes are the best…' what can you say to that….except Thank you Lord…
    I am intending to find me some sparkly shoes, ….LIFE is a gift….a gift from the most High God, pity parties, wallowing, negativity is slavery…looking back, when there is a whole heap of forward to look to, is slavery, God in His love, kindness, grace and Mercy has walked and been with me through my trials, even showing me my loved ones and where they are….I am sad, I hurt to think I am without them…..But God….He has set me free from those chains time and time again, those chains I put myself in, those chains of slavery that I wear, to so called protect myself…Sparkly shoes…definitely the way forward…, Seriously though, Sunday, I made the decision ….no more, God is with you…He has been with you, realise this, know this in your heart, deep in your soul….this is a gift from God, LIFE is a gift….and there sure is freedom in knowing that…Amen
    Thank you Lord God, for the gift of life, the gift of freedom, afforded us by and through your son Jesus Christ, Thank you for little people' who help put our lives into prospective, and their innocence, that help us old's to see who we still are in YOU, without having to search for reminders, in the old places, Thank you Lord God that I am free in YOU…I pray Lord God that you remind me , should I return to the place of slavery, when things go wrong …or I am wallowing Lord…you are my key, you are my Savior, my freedom….Thank you Lord God for everything….Amen…
    Oops, thank you Lord for sparkly shoes!!!

    No longer a slave….believing as I had spoken…I am free

    A missive today…sorry…

    Blessings to you all …xx

    • ~ B ~

      Sparkly shoes! What a beautiful story T! I love her attitude, wanting to look her best and sparkly shoes ARE the best! Such a great prime for our faith in Christ! ~ B

    • Beverly

      Life is a gift! Your story is filled with so much hope and honesty, Tina. Grateful for your words and these truths. Praying you have a glorious day with many reminders of sparkly shoes! ;)

    • Alexis C.

      Thank you Tina. My heart is filled with prayers for you. Prayers for continued healing, prayers of thanksgiving for healing received, prayers of joy for grands ( they are Grand!) and prayers for sparkles to find you everyday. Our Father is SO loving, caring and supportive. When I think of the trials and bad decisions He has pulled me through and held me close at the other side of the sorrow and mess, I am forever humbled. Love to you from across the pond.

    • E.R.

      Thank you for sharing this story with us – I think I cried as I read it! I really needed an extra helping of motivation and encouragement today. I sprained my ankle (which is nothing major I know, but I live in a large metropolitan city with no car, just public transportation…so life is infinitely harder than it was just last week!) and there's been some issues with the roof of my house and it's thrown me for a whole loop and I've been feeling down about a lot of things.

      No wallowing, no slavery… I don't have (and can't wear) sparkly shoes but I put on a nice skirt and t-shirt, showered, and spent some extra time to look my best for whatever the adventures of the day would have. I'm resolving to be more grateful for the slower pace that this injury has brought me.

    • Angela

      Thank you for sharing, Tina. Your story truly shows the love, grace and constant presence of God, how He constantly carries us through. Blessings to you, sweet friend!!

  • carlybenson

    We often think of faith as doing something- stepping out and walking on the water, taking risks for God- and sometimes it is. But sometimes our faith is shown in not doing- not trying to make things happen for ourselves but being willing to wait patiently for God to act.
    I am a doer. I can relate to the toddler wanting to do it themselves and I can relate to Abraham thinking he's waited long enough- now he has to fulfil God's promise by himself. Doing something gives you a sense of control; waiting for God to act feels scary and uncertain.
    But God is slowly teaching me that I am not in control, whatever I may think, but that I am completely dependent on him. It's taking me a while to really grasp this, but there is a sense of peace and freedom in those moments when I manage to be still and trust in him.

    • Candacejo

      Awesome. Sometimes faith IS waiting on God and letting Him make the call. ♥

    • MNmomma (heather)

      Oh man….so very true! I have struggled with (and still do!) this……but ever so slowly, I am realizing the truth…..and man, has that been amazing! I am dependent on Him…..completely…..

    • tabitha_n

      It's funny, this past week I was teaching my Sunday school class about Abraham and talking about how long he waited for God to act on His promise and I think that that lesson along with today's reading is gently telling me the same thing…and to echo what you have said, that waiting is an act of faith too. I was given direction by God to act on something, to step out in faith, but foolishly I expected a ton of results immediately. While I hope it won't take 20 years to fulfill, I am striving to be more patient and lean on God more and stay the course for what I have been nudged to do.

      As you stated so beautifully, there truly is a peace and a freedom unlike any other when we are still and give up control. When we lean in completely and give Him the reigns.

    • AmyQ

      Yes, the part of scripture that popped out to me was at the end of Gen 16:2 ,"And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai." <add…instead of God> Sounds so much like me at times. Listening to my husband, pastor, friends instead of seeking God Himself alone. I'm not saying you shouldn't speak with others, but sometimes we rely on the tangible more than waiting to hear from God.

  • Candacejo, this is for you sweet sister….I love this song…only sing in it yesterday….

    Thank you for introducing it to me….

    Love and blessings… http://youtu.be/f8TkUMJtK5k

    • Candacejo

      Awwwwww! Thank you so much my dear friend. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this song! When they get to the part that says, "You split the sea so I could walk right through it, You drown my fears in perfect love…" I could shout it from the rooftops!

      Oh how I have NEEDLESSLY struggled through the years for acceptance that I never, ever had to work for. Thank you for the sweet and encouraging reminder. May we all be blessed to know we are no longer slaves to the Law, no longer slaves to fear, we are ALL children of the Most High God.

      Thank you Sweet Tina for this day-maker! ♥

    • Sue

      Thank you for sharing this song this morning. So beautiful!

  • It's important to keep in mind that God's laws are not the same as the Law of sin and death that Paul refers to here. Obeying God's laws is described as choosing life. We are saved by grace through faith, and that's always been true. Good works are our response to God's grace, not a way of earning it. But they are a way of accessing the blessings He's promised to those who choose life by obeying Him.

    • MNmomma (heather)

      absolutely!

    • Alexis C.

      “Good works are our response to God’s grace, not a way of earning it.” Thank you for reinforcing this.

    • mlodren

      Thank you for this. This is a dichotomy that I found myself trying to make sense of and your words really helped! Blessings!

  • I have spent so much time trying to earn Gods approval, basically using my actions, thoughts and motives as a way to measure whether or not i was in good books with Him. I had gone back to being a slave and i can’t even describe how perfect the timing of todays devotion was.
    The Lord has really been making me see how faith is the key to loving Him, enjoying Him and just growing Spiritualy.

    My old habit of checking off a list of boxes, isn’t the right way to go about it.

  • Alexis C.

    “We begin our relationship with God by faith, we are justified by faith, and we are filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit by faith.” Vivian M.
    That word, ” faith” an small word for so much wonder and strength. Praise God!

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