November 1, 2012 – Devotion Sharing (Galatians 6)

Submitted by Chul K. from Gracepoint Berkeley Church

Galatians 6:6-10 (ESV)

Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. 

Galatians 6:6-9

  • What insight does this passage provide about spiritual growth?

Spiritual growth does not happen magically. It will happen through many concrete decisions I make in my daily lives about what to do with my time, money, and resources. I sometimes forget this truth about spiritual growth and lazily hope that the Holy Spirit would do some miraculous things for me that would make me spiritual. The reality is that my spiritual growth is contingent upon those small and big decisions I struggle with every day. Am I going to pray for next few minutes or am I going to sleep more or waste my time for frivolous stuff on the Internet? I know could get up a little earlier to start my day with morning prayer if I really want to do it.  However, I also know my flesh always wants more sleep and more rest and more mindless fun that would contradict with my desires for spiritual growth. I must make a choice and I should be responsible for my choices. I do make those decisions everyday, which constantly weaves a new fabric of my spiritual life and relationship with God and the state of my inner world.  For whatever one sows, that he will also reap. This is reality of life.

  • In what ways am I sowing to my own flesh?  What will I reap from these things?   In what ways am I sowing to the Spirit?  What will I reap from these things?

One thing I see myself having to make a choice about every day is my daily prayer. I am teaching a lot this quarter at my school and my schedule has gotten busier than before. If I keep prioritizing my bodily desires over spiritual desires, from these I will reap ungrateful, anxious, cranky, and competitive feelings in my heart throughout the day. I am sowing to my own flesh when I let my heart be filled with anxieties and frustrations about not being able to get things done in my daily schedule and keep blaming others instead of humbly owning up to my own incompetence and laziness in this regard. From this, I will reap a dry and disengaged state of my heart that deflates my motivation for carrying out God-given mission in my daily life.  On the other hand, I am sowing to the Spirit when I take the time to reflect upon my inner world and recognize the sins and iniquities inside of me and repent over them.  I am sowing to the Spirit when I have a genuine, caring heart for people whom God has planted in my life and pray for them faithfully for good days and bad. I am sowing to the Spirit when I decide make deliberate effort in giving thanks to God in all circumstances by thinking about every single blessing that I have received from God in the past year.

  • Reflect on the words “in due season” and the need to persevere.

It reminds of the analogy of the farmer in James 5. He cannot directly make trees or plants to bear fruit.  But the farmer can do what he is supposed to do for his farms in a timely manner and when it comes to the proper season, he will harvest the fruit.   What is required for bearing fruit is the farmer’s faithful labor of care properly done in a timely manner, which would be tangible manifestation of his patient and persevering heart. This passage gives such promise and hope to me for the upcoming changes in our lives in due season–but it would come only if I don’t give up and keep doing good for them without growing weary. I become easily tired and cynical when days and weeks and even months of my prayer do not seem to make any appreciable difference. This is why my commitment to daily prayer easily faded out.  I should not give up on this. I should not grow weary of praying for people given this promise of hope and words of encouragement regarding doing good faithfully.  I recommit myself to praying for people. It is God who will bring changes to our lives in due season. I trust God’s promise that my labor in Christ would not be in vain.

Galatians 6:10

  • Why does Apostle Paul tell us to do good to all people, and then suggest that we concentrate our efforts on the people who belong to the family of believers? 

Doing good for others stems from my love for them and my heart would be cultivated towards love and compassion when I genuinely care about the people God planted in my life. Jesus commanded us to love our neighbors and I can claim more people as my neighbors when I have personal relationship with them. This is probably why Apostle Paul told us to care about the need of our brothers and sisters in Christ first and foremost. Doing good for the family of believers would also strengthen God’s church. It is church of God through which people in the world can witness the concrete demonstration of the love of God.  It would be hypocritical and demonstration of my lack of understanding about God’s salvation plan if I just try to do good to people in the world while neglecting the dire need of our brothers and sisters in Christ. I must keep practicing an act of love and self-denial in doing good to the people in the church because these brothers and sisters are the ones with whom I will share in eternity. When all of us do these acts of love to one another, our church would be strengthened, which would be viewed as a compelling evidence for the power of the gospel to people in this world.

Personal Prayer

Father God, thank you so much for teaching me the importance of my daily decisions regarding my spiritual growth. May my daily decisions about what to do with my time and resources be something pleasing to your eyes. Please help me not to give into the demanding voice of my flesh. Instead, please help me to listen to what you have to say to my life and obey your guidance. In Jesus’ name, I pray.  Amen.

Submitted by Judy L. from Gracepoint Berkeley Church

Galatians 6:6-9

  • What insight does this passage provide about spiritual growth?

This passage provides insight about spiritual growth that as we invest in spiritual things we will reap its fruit, i.e. grow spiritually.  Spending time with God in word and prayers, putting the word into action, and living it out all lead to my spiritual growth.  When I invest in spiritual things, it goes toward my spiritual growth.  If one is not growing spiritually, the reason is because he is not investing or sowing to the spirit.  It is not giving first priority to God’s word and not prioritizing daily devotions, and not praying.   It is quickly giving up at trying to live in obedience.  Instead, it is sowing to the flesh by distracting oneself in doing other things. God’s Word is certain and nothing comes back empty.  When planted in fertile soil of our hearts, it will bear fruit.

  • In what ways am I sowing to my own flesh?  What will I reap from these things?   In what ways am I sowing to the Spirit?  What will I reap from these things?

The ways I had sown in the past to my own flesh were by listening to my self: the voice of negativity, voice of despair, voice of self-pity, and allowing my mind to wander away from God’s truth and listening to my selfish voice.  Through this, I was sowing to my own flesh.

Medically, whenever people do not exercise self-control and eat whatever their appetite demands, they sow to the flesh and become susceptible to diabetes and other joint problems due to obesity.  Thus, even medically, whenever people listen to their own fleshly voice and do what they want, they sow to their flesh and reap the consequence of that.

Some ways I am sowing to the Spirit is when I spend time in the word daily, when I pray, when I obey his command regardless of how I feel about it, whether I feel capable of the task or whether I feel like loving someone or not, allowing interruptions and being flexible to meet the needs of others.  When I use my mind, energy, money, resources, and time in loving others, whether it’s for visiting scholars or the elderly or people in this community of faith, then I am sowing to the Spirit.  Whenever I deny myself and obey then I am sowing to the Spirit.

  • Reflect on the words “in due season” and the need to persevere.

All good things take time.  Nothing comes easily.  We need to endure and persevere so that good character or good harvest can happen.  Before a harvest, there is the hard work of digging the frozen ground early spring and sowing of seed during spring and weeding and watering and tending to crop during the summer.  One has to wait patiently for the seedling to come up and then grow to eventually bear fruit.  Its takes time and perseverance on the farmer’s part.  It is not instant.  Thus during these times of hard work and toil and sweat, things are happening, though unseen to us.  And in due season, we will reap, if we do not give up.  Hard work and perseverance goes with any good thing, especially sowing to the Spirit.  Initially it may not seem like anything is happening, in fact, in the beginning you see more of your ugliness as you work to till your hardened heart before God but as you keep repenting and keep going to the cross, it bears the fruit of humility and from there other fruit of the Spirit is born.

Galatians 6:10

  • Why does Apostle Paul tell us to do good to all people, and then suggest that we concentrate our efforts on the people who belong to the family of believers? 

I think that Paul tells us to do good to all people, and then suggest that we concentrate our efforts on the people who belong to the family of believers is because we are brothers and sisters in Christ, because we are in this family of God, we ought to take care of one another.  If we neglected each other and do good only to people outside of the church, then how would that look?  It’s like people running around helping other people while neglecting their own children or spouse at home.  We have the duty to take care of the family of God.  It is through our love for one another that the world will see we are His disciples.

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