Daily Reflection: The Treadmill | Galatians 3:10-12
Anyone trying to prove Abraham’s parentage by producing the DNA of religious performance and duty is not just coming up short. They’re going down cursed. As it stands written in the Book: Epikataratos – cursed is everyone who doesn’t keep doing and doing and doing everything that’s been written in the book of the Law.” Do we really need to connect these dots? Being on a such an unending treadmill of religious performance doesn’t get anyone on their feet, snug in God’s company – they’re far too busy (and exhausted!). Which is why the prophet says, “It’s quiet trusting faith that gets us on our feet before God so we can really live!” The treadmill of religious performance is the polar opposite of this – as the Law makes plain: “Only the one who does all that’s required finds life.” Well, just hang a millstone around our neck now and be done with it! Galatians 3:10-12 |MAV
Epikataratos! (eh-pee-kah-tah-rah-toes). Yep. It’s a Bible curse word. If you try saying it, you’ll probably find it’s hard to say it nice. It literally means an “on-down-curse” or more fully “on you lies a prayer/curse that will bring you down” (emphasis on the down). It’s the first word in the verse Paul quotes (see Deuteronomy 27:26) to demonstrate the true DNA of religious performance. The never stopping treadmill of religious performance and moral achievement does not give us a healthier heart and life. It only leaves us with a curse that brings us (and others) down. The operative word on this treadmill is “do.” “Do and you will live.” “Do and you will be. One day. If you keep on keeping on.” In the more legalistically bent church I first pastored in, the oft-repeated prayer was, “If we are found faithful, let us find our home with you.” We can’t know for sure whether or not we are acceptable because we are never done with all the doing till we die. Over against the religious treadmill is the path, the Greenbelt, of simple faith and trust. The operative word here is “be.” From the “being” proceeds the “doing.” And because God is faithful, we learn faith. Because he is faithful we are accepted and welcomed into true being. And we can live.
Has your walk with God, has your life in general, felt more like a grueling workout on a treadmill or a refreshing walk on the Greenbelt? Why? How can we keep our walk with God from degenerating into a treadmill of religious performance?
Lord, deliver me from the treadmill the world and its religions would lash me to! Free me to walk, to run, to stroll, to rest along your path as I experience all of its vistas, dips and turns. Through Jesus.
Galatians divvies up nicely into three parts; chapters 3-4 are what I call the “thinking part.” Read both chapters in one sitting. At least once this week. Or twice.
For all of this week’s resources on Galatians including this week’s DG video on Galatians, check out the Vineyard website.