Paul’s letter to the Galatians is beloved for its bold appeal to oneness in Christ. The specific context of the letter, an argument about Gentile Christians, seems archaic now. Underneath the specifics of the issues, however, is a message for us that goes to the heart of the gospel.

The issue in Paul’s day had to do with forming the new and exciting church of Christ. The debate was about who belonged and who would be welcome. Paul began preaching to Jewish believers in Christ, but then he attracted many Gentile converts. Did these new believers need to undergo a conversion to traditional Jewish customs? Did the men need to be circumcised before they could become fully Christian?

Paul declared that circumcision is an outward sign, but what is needed is the inward change of heart.

Reading our Bibles every day is an easy-to-spot outward sign, and we feel satisfied by the progress we make in reading through a book. But the inward sign of our progress would be noticing that the message of the Bible is growing in our lives—maybe in more patience as we deal with a thorny relationship, or a welling up of joy at a beautiful sunset. These things are signs of the fruit of the Spirit that Paul wrote about in the passage just before today’s text (see Galatians 5:22-26). You might take a moment to look over that list and compare it to your own spiritual progress from the outward to the inward, from the old creation to the new.

How many outward signs of faith do you have around you? Think of items like crosses, Bibles, or clothing. As you take note, give thanks for a corresponding inward gift.  

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Luke 10:1-11, 16-20

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Lectionary Week
June 27–July 3, 2022
Scripture Overview

The readings from the Hebrew scriptures describe what can happen when our own strength fails us. Naaman is a great military commander from Syria, but he has no power to heal himself. The psalmist, traditionally David, has become too comfortable in his prosperity. Both men must humble themselves before they can experience healing and restoration from God. How often do we let our pride stand in the way of our healing? Paul admonishes his readers to carry themselves with humility and to build up one another. What they do will always come back to them; what we sow, we reap. The story in Luke warns against being proud even of the gifts that God gives us. Our greatest joy is not that we can do things for God but that God has already accepted us.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read 2 Kings 5:1-14. When have God’s instructions been more involved than you expected? How did you respond?
Read Psalm 30. How can you continue to praise God during dark, lonely, and hopeless times?
Read Galatians 6:1-16. When has your faith community struggled with members’ lack of humility? How did you resolve the situation so that you could welcome and nurture new Christians?
Read Luke 10:1-11, 16-20. When have you misconstrued God’s accomplishments as your own successes? How did you refocus your life or ministry on serving God?

Respond by posting a prayer.