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Paul Reprimands the Galatians, Galatians 4:8-20

Enslaved by Worship

When the Galatians started returning to their worship of false gods, Paul was angry. He scolded them for their choices, and implored them to stop their rites and rituals for other gods and return to the one true God. He observed that they were enslaved by their rites and rituals for other gods, while in God they are free.

This is an interesting idea -- that we become enslaved by the things we worship that are not God. It's true -- when I begin to worship money, for example, money becomes the driving force in my life. I become a slave to the pursuit of money. Likewise, if I worship another person or a lifestyle or status or success, I become slaves to the pursuit of those things. So I must ask myself: do I want to be a slave to money, or people, or lifestyle? Or do I want to be free in God?

Narrative Lectionary Text: Galatians 4:8-20

Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to beings that by nature are not gods. Now, however, that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and beggarly elemental spirits? How can you want to be enslaved to them again? You are observing special days, and months, and seasons, and years. I am afraid that my work for you may have been wasted.

Friends, I beg you, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You have done me no wrong. You know that it was because of a physical infirmity that I first announced the gospel to you; though my condition put you to the test, you did not scorn or despise me, but welcomed me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus. What has become of the goodwill you felt? For I testify that, had it been possible, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? They make much of you, but for no good purpose; they want to exclude you, so that you may make much of them. It is good to be made much of for a good purpose at all times, and not only when I am present with you. My little children, for whom I am again in the pain of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, I wish I were present with you now and could change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.