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Commentary » Galatians 4:12-Galatians 4:20 » Family-Times.net
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Building up People in Their Faith

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The following are some important things to remember in the area of human relationships: Speak to people. There is nothing as nice as a cheerful word of greeting. Smile at people. It takes seventy-two muscles to frown, only fourteen to smile. Call people by name. Music to anyone’s … More

Relationships

Paul knew how to balance rebuke with love. Within this text he shows through sentimental argument how he is genuinely and passionately interested in the Galatians personally. He turns from “spanking” to “embracing” as he reminds them of how they have loved him and how he loves them (vv. 12-15). He commends the Galatians for the way they received him in spite of the way he looked. Paul’s physical infirmity was a sickness that he was enduring while he visited the Galatian churches. It is not for certain what his problem was but many think it was an eye problem. It is always wonderful when people accept God’s servants, not because of their outward appearance but because of the Lord they represent. Do you avoid those in pain or those facing difficulty or do you care for them as if they were Jesus Himself?

After this Paul asks them a very searching question, “Am I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth” (v.16)? In spite of their earlier love for him the Judaizers had come in and stolen their hearts. This is a warning that regardless of how much we get to know a person, false teachers can come along and turn our hearts to them (vv. 17-20). We need to be on guard of religious leaders who want our exclusive allegiance because they try to say they are the only one who is right. They will use you for as long as they can and then drop you for somebody else and your fall will be very painful. A true spiritual leader tries to get people to love and follow Christ and not to just use people to build up themselves and their work.

Application

How has my relationship with my spiritual leaders been? (Parents, teachers, pastors, etc.) If they are seeking to teach me truth I need to thank them and encourage them. As a Christian leader I need to express appreciation to my leaders. Also to be on guard to the cunning ways of false teachers.

Galatians 4:12-20 (English Standard Version)

Brothers, I entreat you, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You did me no wrong. You know it was because of a bodily ailment that I preached the gospel to you at first, and though my condition was a trial to you, you did not scorn or despise me, but received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus. What then has become of the blessing you felt? For I testify to you that, if possible, you would have gouged out your eyes and given them to me. Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth? They make much of you, but for no good purpose. They want to shut you out, that you may make much of them. It is always good to be made much of for a good purpose, and not only when I am present with you, my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you! I wish I could be present with you now and change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »

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