Verse: Galatians 4:12-16
12 I plead with you, brothers and sisters, become like me, for I became like you. You did me no wrong. 13 As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you, 14 and even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself. 15 Where, then, is your blessing of me now? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. 16 Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?
In today's passage, I think there are three mini-devotions for us to reflect on:
ARE YOU A ROLE MODEL?
"Become like me." Can you say that? Can I? Are we living our lives in such a way that we could confidently tell others to become like us? That's kind of intimidating isn't it? Are we following Jesus in such a way that we would encourage a friend who is struggling to model their faith after ours? Of course I doubt we'd actually say those words, but the reality is, we all have opportunities in our lives to live as role models. We have influence in the lives of those around us. It could be our family, our friends, our classmates, or our co-workers. People are looking to us. So that begs the question, what are they seeing? If they were to model their lives and faith after us, would that help them?
THE POWER OF HOSPITALITY
Hospitality is one of my wife's central gifts. I never really knew how powerful this could be in showing people God's love until I married her. I've learned so much. You can see from Paul's words here how meaningful the Galatians' hospitality had been to him. They took him in, even though he was a burden at the time, and welcomed him as if they were welcoming Jesus himself! Hospitality flows from the reality that Jesus has given us a home in him. From that place of belonging, we help others to feel "at home" as well. Whether it be in our actual house, or just in life, when we help others to feel loved, at ease, and at home, we are practicing hospitality. Small gifts when people are hurting, texts and prayers that let people know that you care, cards and meals and practical help...and of course, actually inviting people into your home, to sit around your table, to share a meal, to share life. This is the power of hospitality, and it can literally change lives.
This final sentence is so telling for our current social situation in America: "Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?" The social discourse of our time has become allergic to anyone telling anyone else any truth that doesn't align with their own perception of the truth. But the reality is, we all need people in our lives who will tell us the truth. Even when it challenges us. Maybe especially when it challenges us. Do we have people in our lives who will tell us the truth? Who will tell us hard and uncomfortable truths when we need to hear them? And equally as important—are we humble enough to hear it? Or do we build up our defenses so that no one can say anything to us other than praise or agreement?
Ok, this was a different kind of devotion, I know. I generally like there to be one major point to reflect on. But today is more like a buffet of devotion reflections! Which one(s) is touching your heart?