When I opened up the blinds on the door leading to our patio this morning, I glanced out at our outdoor thermometer and noticed that it read 14 degrees. I was so happy that I was standing behind the protection of that double pained glass door with the heater running and the inside temperature eventually rising from 66 to a cozy 74 degrees!
Yesterday was the first time since we have been here that I really felt cold. We had spent a few hours visiting our daughter and her husband and when we stepped outside to leave the temperature had dropped a fair amount. The problem was that I was wearing a light windbreaker and shorts! I guess that I really didn’t think that one out! It was breezy but warm when we left our house and I failed to consider the sun going behind the trees by the time we returned home!
Once again, I was glad when we stepped into our cozy warm apartment after experiencing the cold! My ears were so chilled that I put on a wool beanie cap just to warm them up! Well, as you can imagine I learned from that experience and promised myself to be more aware of my choice of winter attire.
Those two experiences came to mind later on in the morning today as I studied from Galatians 4:9. In this verse Paul is stressing a point to the Galatians saying, “But now you know and are known by God. So how can you turn back again to the powerless and bankrupt principles of this world. Why do you want to be subservient to them all over again? (Personalization of the God’s Word © translation)
Yesterday and today I was happy that I knew the warmth of our apartment and was happy not to go out again into the artic temperatures! I also know that I will not go out in the cold weather today in my shorts and windbreaker. I’ve known the cold and I’ve known the warmth, and I now choose to be smart and stay warm!
Similarly, Paul is telling the church that since they’ve known God and His loving, faithful and peaceful ways, why would they want to subject themselves to the uncertainness and stress of the world’s principles. Galatians 4:9 brought me back to those first few months when I found myself being vehemently questioned by other people’s reasoning that did not match our Bible-based leadings when it came to the care of my wife. Besides being shocking and frustrating it was very confusing as it seemed that these folk’s opinions changed from day to day! Just when I would think we were okay I would receive another report that dispelled that thinking!
I would wonder why these individuals would base their thoughts, opinions and reasoning on things that were contrary to what my (and their) Bible says. And they were mature Christians… It was exactly like what Paul questioned his congregation at Galatia about. Why would they fall back to the powerless and bankrupt principles of the world when they had tasted of the glorious, faithful and faultless promises of God? To me, it was almost like they felt that they had the right to rotate back and forth between kingdoms any time that they felt it was necessary!
Have you ever done that? What scared me the most is when I suddenly found myself having to deal with anger in me that I did not know was there! Then I had to make a choice over which way to go with it… God’s way of love and forgiveness or the world’s way of name calling and vengeance. And to be honest, I did delve a little bit into the realm of unforgiveness until I finally came to my spiritual senses! I’m still having to deal with some of this, but I have learned that once I stepped into God’s love that there is no turning back!
What I’ve found out is what I believe the Apostle Paul was eluding to, namely that once you step out of God’s covering and fall back into following or reacting according to the world’s principles, you fall back under their jurisdictions of what Romans 8:2 refers to as the adverse sentences and convictions of the law or sin and death!
As I was concluding my study time today I reviewed my notes and the key to all this jumped out to me! Galatians 4:9 begins by Paul’s reminding us that we now “know and are known by God.” In the Greek, the word “know” speaks of an intimate, personal knowledge of God, as a husband and wife “know” each other in the most intimate act of marriage. If we truly have this kind of very personal, intimate knowledge of and with God, then we’ll never want to step back to the ways of the world… no matter what! One thing that was quickly evident was that the people who talked against us did not really “know” us, even though we had been closely associated for forty years!
You know, it really bothers me whenever I hear married couples talking negatively about each other. I have even heard some Christians make negative or derogatory comments in jest about their spouses that I would NEVER think much less SAY about my wife! It doesn’t just bother me, but it physically hurts me to hear a husband or wife refer to their spouses as “My old man” or “My old lady” – even if they are just trying to be funny! These statements tell me that those couples have never taken the time to really “KNOW” each other. It makes me question how much they really love and respect their life partner.
And if this kind of disrespect is occurring with the one you have chosen to live with for the rest of your life, then how deep is your “KNOWING” of God? The trials and tribulations that I have gone through over the last six years have caused me to go deeper and further in to my intimate and very personal relationship with my Papa God. The vacillating ventures of others toward us has forced me to (as the Star Wars theme said…) “to go where no man has gone before!” It made me to dig in deeper, love greater and intimately “know” my God far more than I ever had before. And I must admit, that I wish I had done it years ago! Sometimes it takes a traumatic event in the life of a loved one and some disparaging words from other loved ones to give us a swift kick where it counts!
So I would encourage you to NOT wait for that to happen to you! Take a stand now! Make up your mind today to throw all caution to the wind and dive into a deeply personal and intimate “knowing” of your Papa God! Then when the tests do come (and they will!) you’ll never even consider returning to the principles of the World because you’ll “KNOW” that God’s loving, faithful, peaceful and forgiving ways are the ONLY way for you! Have a super weekend! Stay in tune to God’s Word, and keep asking yourself… “What or Whom am I expecting to ‘KNOW’ today?”