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Daily Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, June 15, 2022  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Galatians 3:23–29

Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be reckoned as righteous by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek; there is no longer slave or free; there is no longer male and female, for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise. (NRSV)

Reflection
For me this is one of the most important—and most challenging—passages in the entire Bible. It sounds so true and so simple, yet it is so hard to fulfill. Witness the centuries of wars, religious and otherwise. Witness laws that discriminate or exploit one group over another. Witness our current cultural climate, in which group identification can override our reason, our logic, our empathy, our very humanity. “Us versus them” never seems to lose its power for us imperfect souls.

The passage reminds me of Jesus’ instruction to love your enemies. That exhortation is a tough one to fulfill. So tough we sometimes just leave it to the real saints among us. How can we be expected to act so Christ-like?

But Paul’s reminder that there are no distinctions among us is more subtle, more practical, more achievable. It’s still very difficult for some of us, and by us, I mean me. This open mindset can take a lifetime of unlearning and struggle, self-assessment, and confession. Habits and lazy thinking often set me on cruise control, but Paul’s words are as clear as my first-grade teacher’s. With repetition and work, this feels like an outlook I can achieve. And equipped with that outlook, I think maybe I can get better at the work God has laid before me.

Prayer
Heavenly Creator, thank you for these words of Paul. I often pray for you to show me the path you want me to follow, but if I fail to grasp Paul’s words, I know that path will be surrounded by darkness. Please help me with these baby steps. Amen.

Written by Jim Garner, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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