The Right Ingredient

GroceryHave you ever been in the grocery store and watched people shop? It is very interesting to see how people make decisions about the products they buy. Manufactures and food makers by law have to list the ingredients on their products. The labels have to clearly state each ingredient along with the products nutritional information. Having these things clearly labeled gives us the opportunity to buy their product with the full knowledge of what has been put into it, there are no surprises…most of the time.

The apostle Paul writes to the Galatians a letter that gives us a key “ingredient” to becoming a member of God’s family, a child of Christ. He writes, “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.” (Galatians 3:26). Did you see it? Through faith, faith in Christ Jesus, that is how we are adopted into the family of God. Paul, writing to the people of Galatia uses what may have been a controversial three letter word in that time, the word “all”. He expands on this in verse 28, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” What a beautiful picture of a family, of the relationship between the children and their Heavenly Father. Through the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives we all have the opportunity to be a part of this family.

It is important to understand that the “ingredient” of faith does not stand alone when we become a part of God’s family. Paul continues to teach the people to have a hope in the righteousness that is promised, a heart filled with love for others and a humble attitude of service for one another. As a parent and as a leader, it is exciting to see these ingredients increase in the lives of our children and our brothers and sisters in Christ. Our world today offers a “mega-store” of different faiths and religions to shop from. Do not be distracted by the “products” that are put front and centre on the shelf just because they are popular, look closely at the ingredients, be sure they include the key ingredient of faith in Christ Jesus.


tug-o-warTug-of-War… The classic game of strength, teamwork, grit and for the inexperienced, rope burn. The game pits two teams against each other for dominance and bragging rights and the satisfaction of dragging the other side through the mud. It has been some time since I anchored the end of the rope but the thoughts bring back some fond memories of the many church picnics and tug-of war competitions I joined as a kid.

The Galatian people in some respects were participants in a sort of Tug-of-War when it came to the truth of the gospel. Remembering that Paul was writing to Christians, imagine if you can two ends or sides of the rope stretched over a line. Faith being on one side and works on the other, each pulling for your attention.  When we read through the letter to the Galatians Paul has some strong words for the people, “As we have already said, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse.” (Gal 1:9). Paul is saying to the people that there should be no contest, there is only one gospel anything else is “variant message” an “alien message” (1:6 MSG).

Paul continues throughout his letter to remind and teach the people that it is through faith in Christ that we are saved, not through the works of the law. He digs deep into the roots of their past and reminds them of the covenant (promise) given through Abraham, a promise of one who will come to redeem us and give us everlasting life through him. Take Paul’s concern for the Galatian people and fast forward generations and centuries to our day and age now, these same principles apply. There are many things in life today that pull for our attention, things that distract us from living fully in life by the spirit.  Like the people of Galatians, we need continual reminders that Christ is the center of the gospel message. When it comes to winning the game of Tug-of-War I am reminded of Romans 8:1 “If God is for us, who can be against us?” I want God on my team.