Daily Reflection: Contractions | Galatians 4:17-20
But then here are these knife-wielding religious rivals of mine, hungering for your attention like a crowd of religious paparazzi. And that’s all fine and good – it’s great to have people hungering for a glimpse of your face, wanting your autograph (or more accurately in this case, wanting to autograph you!), hungering for your company just like I do, provided it’s not, well, creepy.
You’re all just like my own kids – and it’s as if I were once again going through intense birthing contractions all over again, screaming out in pain until Christ is formed within you again. Listening to myself scream, I so wish I could be right there with you now and try a different tack and tone – because I’m totally clueless how to get through to you! Galatians 4:17-20 | MAV
I know nothing of what it’s like to have contractions and give birth. But I have had teens. My wife does know something of birth pangs and labor. She’s done it five times and I at least witnessed each. I think she pretty much agrees with me that for parents those teenage years can be remarkably like labor in themselves. Only it’s a labor that lasts years. And you often don’t know whether a man or woman was successfully birthed through it until those teens are somewhere in their twenties. The Galatians were Paul’s teens. They skipped the terrible twos and went straight to teenager. And Paul literally doesn’t know what to do with them. His angst reminds me of God’s expressed angst over Israel of old: My people are hell-bent on leaving me. They pray to god Baal for help. He doesn’t lift a finger to help them. But how can I give up on you, Ephraim? How can I turn you loose, Israel? How can I leave you to be ruined like Admah, devastated like luckless Zeboim? I can’t bear to even think such thoughts. My insides churn in protest (see Hosea 11:7-8). Israel: God’s teens. And he doesn’t walk away. It’s good to remember that on those occasions we wake up and realize we’ve been putting him through our own teenage dramas. We might turn him every which way but loose – but he will never let loose of us, no matter how bad the birthing contractions get. Until Christ is formed in us.
Where are you in your walk with God? Innocent infancy? Terrible twos? Blissful preteen? Roller coaster teen years? Maturing 20’s? Seasoned 30’s? Really seasoned 50’s or 60’s? How is God meeting you along this stretch of your walk with him? How would he display his grace in and through you in this season?
Jesus, thank you for bearing with me through all of my own birthing contractions. Thank you for your faithfulness to birth your Life in me. Form Christ in me today.
The whole text this week is Galatians 4:8-20. Read it daily in it’s entirety from a few different translations if possible. Also, as suggested in Sunday’s teaching, you can read and reflect each day this week on our new identity in Christ as set forth by the apostle Paul in Ephesians 1 (particularly verses 3-14).
For all of this week’s resources on Galatians including this week’s DG video on Galatians, check out the Vineyard website.