It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1 , NIV)
In what seems like a redundant statement, our freedom–freedom for the bondage of sin–is what Christ died for in order for us to be free.
If you were asked to define to word “freedom,” what would you say? In what ways do you see this as similar or different to the way Paul is using that word here?
How does sin create a yoke of slavery in our lives?
You hear about people who have been “freed” from certain struggles or addiction, yet go right back to them. Why do you think people do this? Why would someone want to give up the freedom they have found in this way?
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19–21, NIV)
As we strive to know what to do to live a Godly life, we also need to be sure we are aware of what NOT to do, as well.
Do you think the “acts of the flesh” are obvious? Are they obvious to the people around us? In what ways might we find them less than obvious?
As you look through the list Paul gives here, are any of them things you find others–or perhaps even yourself–doing often? Why do you think someone might do these, even when they know they should not?
How does inheriting the kingdom of God motivate you to live a more faithful life?
Isaiah 25.1-28.13; Galatians 3.10-22; Psalm 61.1-8; Proverbs 23.17-18
In a world that was filled with individuals or bands of people who would raid neighboring villages, a tower of refuge stood tall, a symbol of protection and security. All throughout scripture, but especially in this passage from Isaiah, we get a picture of God being the one who protects those who need such a refuge, people who have no other recourse. How has God been a tower of refuge for you when you needed it most?
Why does it seem odd that Isaiah starts this reading with words of praise for the “wonderful things” God has done, yet all of the surrounding texts have spoken of doom and gloom?
Describe a time that you were aware you were a prisoner of sin, yet free through the power of Jesus.
How does it feel to be sheltered under God’s wings?
The proverb writer tells us not to envy sinners, but why is this so easy to do, at times? What can we do to help us NOT envy them?
Isaiah 22.1-24.23; Galatians 2.17-3.9; Psalm 60.1-12; Proverbs 23.15-16
“I have been crucified and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2.20) How can you live in such a way as to claim this verse as your own?
How often does our world fall apart around us, yet we never humble ourselves and ask God for his help? How can we be sure this is our first response, not the one that happens after all other options have been exhausted?
In what ways is it a word of comfort for you that the children of Abraham are not determined by biological link, but by belief in Christ?
What circumstances in your life cause you to cry out to God for rescue? How has God responded?
Celebrate a time when your child–either a biological child or a child of faith–showed a wise heart.
Isaiah 19.1-21.17; Galatians 2.1-16; Psalm 59.1-17; Proverbs 23.13-14
As Paul writes to the church in Galatia, one of their actions is the cause for him to write some of the strongest criticism we see in any of his writings: They are turning away from the gospel of Jesus Christ. It would appear that the main sticking point for Paul is the idea that one needs something more than Jesus in order find salvation in God. To Paul, any salvation you have to work for, that is, any salvation that requires certain actions to be considered an “insider” means that you have no need for Jesus. Obviously, this cannot be the case. Why was it so difficult for the Galatians to believe that their faith in Jesus Christ to redeem them was enough for salvation? Why is it at times difficult for us to do the same?
How would you have liked to have been told by God to walk around naked and barefoot in order to communicate a message to His people? What is the most awkward manner of message delivering you have encountered?
Why do you think Paul spent as much time as he did explaining his “backstory” to the Galatian people?
What helps you “sing of God’s power” even in the midst of attacks from your enemies?
How does physical discipline save individuals from death?
Isaiah 15.1-18.7; Galatians 1.1-24; Psalm 58.1-11; Proverbs 23.12
For many of us, we have a strong desire to live lives that God wants us to live. Our desire is to please him and that remains our steadfast focus … until the pressures of living that life becomes crossways with the desires and approval of people around us. While we certainly do not WANT to seek man’s approval over God’s, it can be difficult for us to actually do so in the stress of “real life.” Why is this the case and what can we do to avoid seeking to please those around us more than God?
Why does it take complete destruction of a nation or for people to hit rock bottom before they turn to their Creator?
Why do you think the letter to the Galatians lacks any sort of formal thanksgiving, which is a part of every other letter of Paul’s?
Do you know the meaning of the word “justice?” How does your life demonstrate that you do?
In what ways do you make sure you are committing yourself to receiving instruction from God?