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Galatians 4:12 Dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to live as I do in freedom from these things, for I have become like you Gentiles—free from those laws. You did not mistreat me when I first preached to you. 13 Surely you remember that I was sick when I first brought you the Good News. 14 But even though my condition tempted you to reject me, you did not despise me or turn me away. No, you took me in and cared for me as though I were an angel from God or even Christ Jesus himself. 15 Where is that joyful and grateful spirit you felt then? I am sure you would have taken out your own eyes and given them to me if it had been possible. 16 Have I now become your enemy because I am telling you the truth? 17 Those false teachers are so eager to win your favor, but their intentions are not good. They are trying to shut you off from me so that you will pay attention only to them. 18 If someone is eager to do good things for you, that’s all right; but let them do it all the time, not just when I’m with you. 19 Oh, my dear children! I feel as if I’m going through labor pains for you again, and they will continue until Christ is fully developed in your lives. 20 I wish I were with you right now so I could change my tone. But at this distance I don’t know how else to help you.

Paul was writing to the Galatians and trying to keep them on the right track from a distance. There was a group of Jews trying to get the new converts to come back to following the Law of Moses and rejecting the teachings of Jesus that Paul taught them. These converts were easily led astray and in their infancy they were "wined and dined" by the Jews that were physically present witht them. And Paul's letter was to challenge them to stay with the teachings of the gospel. Since he was not there, Paul knew that they might not follow His words through just a letter. He was dealing with what we call "backstabbers." These are people who smile and act kind to your face when you are with them and then stab you in the back when you are gone. They would be considered today's "passive aggressives" and they only cause confusion and controversary.

In verse 19 Paul said he felt like he was going through the labor pains of their spiritual births again. His next statement in that verse explains a lot, where he says "and they will continue until Christ is fully developed in your lives." So many believers who have accepted Christ are so easily led astray with poor theology that is not Christ centered, but has a worldly spin on it. Those who lead them astray do it with promises of any "easier" way of living that does not even mention growing in Christ. Those "backstabbers" are just another way satan tries to lead new believers astray so they don't fully understand what the abundant life is all about. The parable of the seeds is a great example that talks about the seed that falls on shallow soil and never fully grows into a strong plant. They grew but there was not a lot of root and they soon withered. (Matthew 13: 1-9)

All of this further shows the need to get into God's Word and deepen our walk with God so we can live fully in the freedom of God's grace. It seems that just when I am beginning to grow in an area of my life, satan sends his minions to try and distract me from that growth. Those minions usually come in the form of "backstabbers." They try to distract me and then leave me out to dry and wither. But, as I have grown in my walk I recognize them coming to distract me quite a bit quicker and it actually prompts me to desire the deeper things of God. Praise God for His presence in those situations. This is all part of the experience of walking with God and God is faithful to take us by the hand and lead us through these times. Just keep growing in your faith and see how God will show you great and mighty things you never thought possible. In Jeremiah we read of God speaking through Jeremian about this very subject. Jeremiah 33:2 “This is what the Lord says—the Lord who made the earth, who formed and established it, whose name is the Lord:3 Ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do not know about things to come.

The Pilgrimage continues......

David Warren

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