A few months ago, I had cleaned the house, done all the laundry and worked hard all day. My son Jack came home from school, Daniel came home from work, and we ate supper and had a normal evening. I woke up at 3 am unable to sleep. I got up wandered through the house and saw a pile or laundry, dishes to be cleaned and messes all over the house. I was so beat that I went out onto the porch with our dog, Harley. I stood outside and just said, “Really God! This is my life?” This was so not the place I expected to be at 43. As I sat there just wallowing in my own self-pity and felling stuck in my life. God said, “Yes it is, I am getting you ready so prepare yourself.” Have you ever felt trapped or stuck in life? Have you ever felt held back and restrained from experiencing the freedom in Christ we read about in the Bible?
If you felt like I did there is something you need to know; the freedom to love, and hope, and dream, and have joy, and peace, and satisfaction is not a fairy tale. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the key our true freedom. This does not mean that you can go out and act like you don’t have good sense and expect no precautions. That’s not freedom. That’s actually just being a slave to our desires and our wretched fleshy selves. The freedom that I want us to experience and grow in is the ability to enjoy God in the purposeful life that He has planned for us. While searching for this Freedom God lead me to Galatians.
13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
The freedom we are all desperately chasing after is here and is already ours. Jesus has already done the works of setting us free. Now it’s up to us to align ourselves with His truth and boldly claim the freedom. The book of Galatians outlines why true freedom is found in Jesus Christ, and how we can experience that freedom today.
At the first of Galatians we learn that Paul is writing this book, and we learn the context and what things were happening that led Paul to write this letter.
After Paul says hello he quickly gets straight to business. Starting with verse 6 we read:
6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.
Has anyone ever called you or caught you out somewhere, and they kinda rushed through the hellos to get to something they needed to tell you about. I can see Paul doing this here. He’s, “Hey guys this is Paul, How are ya’ll doing? Are you crazy! Ya’ll are acting like you don’t have any sense.”
He was a little nicer than that, but you understand. Paul takes no time getting to the message he needs to get to the Galatians. This message is very important, not just for them, but for all of us.
So where did the Galatians go wrong? What needed to be corrected? We clearly read they “are turning to a different gospel.” This is serious matter worthy of Paul’s angry and passion. Paul preached to these people, and they believed and were saved. However, some other people came along preaching false religion. Paul preached that we are saved not by works, but by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. We are saved by grace through faith.
These men had convinced the Galatians that in order to be saved they needed to follow Jewish customs and traditions, including being circumcised We know the Galatians were already accepted by God.
One of the biggest lies that keep us shackled down and restrained it is the thought that you must earn your salvation, that you have to earn God’s love, or that you have to be a cookie cutter christian instead of the woman God made you to be. This is why I was so upset with “My Life”. In my mind I should be living a life like everyone around me. But I’m not. That is not the Story God needs me to tell.
This is one of the major reasons why Paul starts this letter off with the declaration that he is called my God and not man. Because striving to meet the standard of men will enslave you to people pleasing, insecurity, pride, and more. But when we realize we are already accepted and called by God, we are not enslaved by these things. And we then realize we are already free in Christ.
Paul does not need to ascribe to any man-made tradition to be saved and called by God; neither do the Galatians, and neither do we. You do not have to be rich. You do not have to be perfect.
The sad thing is that there are a lot of people preaching this same false gospel today that the Galatians were tempted to believe, leading people to believe they must act a certain way or do certain things in order to really be saved. But this is no gospel at all. This is not the true gospel of Jesus Christ that offers salvation to all.
So the question I want to ask you today is this: have we forgotten the gospel? Have we forgotten that we are saved by grace through faith alone? Because if we have, we have forfeited the freedom Christ offers. But I refuse to believe that the daughters of God will live as slaves.
In most races, there are 1, 2, and 3 places. Those are the only winners. The Bible says that being a Christian is like running in a race, and in a lot of ways, it is. But there is one BIG difference. EVERYONE who completes the race wins! God says that He will give a special crown to ALL who finish the race. Can you imagine that? A special crown! (I would look fabulous in a crown, FYI)
The important thing is that we finish the race, so we can get our prize. If we follow God’s commandments like we learned in Get Ready, Get Set, we will be ready and the race will be easier to run.
2 Timothy 4:7
7 I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have served the Lord faithfully.
Heaven is the finish line in God’s race. The bible says that in Heaven is where we will get our crowns for finishing the race. Do you know how to get to heaven? The only way we can get to heaven is through Jesus Christ. Jesus is the son of God and He came to earth and died on the cross to pay for our sins. The bible says the wages or payment for sin is death. But because Jesus died for us, we can still go to heaven. To go to heaven you have to believe in God and that Jesus is the son of God, confess your sins and ask God to come live in your heart. This is as easy as ABC.
The ABC’s of being saved
A – Admit
Admit honestly to God that you have sinned and disobeyed Him.
The Bible says:
- Romans 3:23 “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
- Romans 6:23 “The wages of sin is death (everlasting punishment).”
B – Believe
Believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose again. His blood was shed to pay for your sins.
The Bible says:
- 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”
- Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
- John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Because Jesus loves you so much, He took the punishment for you so that you can be forgiven.
C – Choose
Choose to trust Jesus alone for the forgiveness of your sins.
The Bible says:
- Romans 10:13 “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
- John 3:18 “He who believes in Him (Jesus) is not condemned.”
When you trust in Jesus Christ alone to save you, God forgives you! You become His child, and He promises you a home in heaven forever! Put your trust in Jesus as your Savior from sin. Do it today, and begin following Him by obeying His Word, the Bible.
It’s that easy you simply do these things and pray to God and ask Him to save you.
I’ve watched some men and women whose lives were totally sold out to God walk off the track in the middle of the race. They gave up or they became focused on themselves and this world and lost sight of the finish line.
The possibility is real for all of us unless we allow our hearts to be completely gripped by God . The faithfulness of my walk with God in the next year and the next decades depends on my willingness to stay current with God. In a word-to stay in relationship with Him.
I never want to lose the grip of what God’s grace and love has done in my life and the amazing privilege it is to be in relationship with Him and to serve Him. My sister and I used to say that we wanted slide into Heaven, completely worn out and exhausted, having given everything we could for Christ. The last thing I want to do is to show up at the finish line a beat down, derailed Christian. I want to break that tape with arms high and my face to the sun and say with the apostle Paul, “I have finished the course; I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).
So what can we do now to ensure that finish line victory? We can get back to basics: Honestly answer these seven questions:
Do I hunger after God?
Does God’s Word govern my life?
Do I grieve over sin?
How quickly do I repent when I see my wrong?
Am I sensitive to the Spirit’s prompting me?
Do I obey?
Is my faith growing?
Return to these questions regularly and ask God to help you every morning to run the race.
We have all tried to do something and failed. Maybe you were trying to to make a wonderful dinner for your family and it burnt or tried to get a new job, but it never happened. Maybe you were trying a game on a tablet or phone and you couldn’t complete a level. Did you give up? Or did you try again harder?
Sometimes when we are running the Christian race, we are not going to do as well as we want or we may even fall down. If we fall down, what should we do? Should we cry? NO! Should we quit? NO! Then what should we do? We should get UP and start all over again. Losing is not the falling down it is the staying down.
Runners and athletes train daily for the Olympics or a race as Christian we have to train too by pray, bible study and walking a christian walk.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
Jesus says that when we run the Christian race, things aren’t always going to go the way we want them to go. Sometimes we are going to have to do things we don’t want to do. Remember, Jesus said if we love Him, keep His commandments.
If we are angry and crying, can we do well running a race? No! We would need to stop and blow our noses and wipe away our tears. While we are doing that, others will pass us up and we might miss an important turn and never finish the race!!! Let’s always try to keep the right attitude and show Jesus that we love Him when we run the Christian race.
Olympians train everyday to compete in the Olympics. As children of God, we need to train daily for the Christian race. We train by prayer, Bible study and doing what’s right.
We also go to Church so we can learn how to run God’s race, from our teachers and preachers. Coaches teach athletes how to be the best at their sport. That is what teachers and preachers do for us Christians.
Training can be hard sometimes. For athletes, it may be hard because of an injury or because they may not have the time they need to give to training. For Christians, training can be hard because Satan is always trying to keep us from training. So sometimes it can be hard to get up and come to church on Sunday or it may be hard to remember to pray every day. We have to try our hardest not to let these things happen. We have to remember that training will help us win and make the race easier.
I bet some of you already train for God’s race. You are all on your way to being champions.
Start your training now. Decide to designate time each day to train through prayer and Bible study and if you don’t have a coach, find a local church to help you find one.
The Olympic races are always started with the torch bearer, who runs with the torch and lights the fire so all can see.
Jesus says we shouldn’t hide our light. If we hide our light, will others see? Will they want to be Christians too?
As Christians, we are to be torch bearers for Jesus. One of the things we must do when we run our race is carry our light. In Get Ready, Get Set, We talked about getting ready by knowing and following the rules. Jesus says that it isn’t just important to carry our lights. He says when we run, we are to let our lights shine so others can see.
By letting our lights shine, Jesus doesn’t mean we are to carry actual lamp. He means that we should do good things so other people will want to be Christians too.
A bad attitude can cause your world to be dark and you to lose sight of your goal.
A good attitude helps keep you light bright and can keep you going when times get rough.
We all try to teach our children to be positive and have a good attitude, but how many times do we live that lesson. I had a preacher once that would say, “Your attitude effects your altitude.” Not that your attitude will keep you out of Heaven, but it can effect your closeness to God.
How can you change your attitude to shine your light?
No complaining. In the Bible, God’s people, the Israelites were wondering in the wilderness. No matter how much God did for them, the children of Israel complained constantly. They were focused on what they wanted NOW and not on what they needed for the future. After all that God had done for them, they said they would rather be slaves again in Egypt!! ! Complaining caused them to lose sight of their goal: the Promised Land.
No blaming others. Adam and Eve were told by God to not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They chose to follow Satan and eat what God said not to eat. When God questioned them, Adam blamed Eve, and Eve blamed the serpent. They refused to take responsibility for their own actions, and as a result, they lost their reward: living in the garden with God. Denying responsibility causes us to not fix what is wrong and can keep us from finishing our race and receiving our reward.
No shortcuts. Jehoiakim was one of the later kings of Israel. He tried to take a short cut. He cut part of God’s rules of the scrolls and burned them in the fire. Imagine his surprise when Jeremiah wrote God’s words again! We can’t just ignore the parts of God’s word that we don’t like.
No pouting. Jonah wanted to be the judge over Nineveh. When he disagreed with God’s call, he pouted over Nineveh’s repentance.
No excuses. Moses was a man of many excuses. He didn’t want to start the task God had given to him to do. What Moses was supposed to do? How did God respond to each of Moses’ excuses? He was told God would help him. Does God accept excuses today?
No quitting. Daniel prayed to God and served God everyday even though the king told him not to. He didn’t quit even when he was thrown in the lion’s den. Because he was faithful and did not give up, God was with him in the lion’s den and he wasn’t hurt.
16. You should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.
In the Bible, Jesus tells us something very important about ourselves.
21 Then Jesus said to them, “You don’t take a lamp and hide it under a bowl or a bed, do you? Of course not. You put it on a lamp stand. 22 Everything that is hidden will be made clear. Every secret thing will be made known. 23 You people who hear me, listen! This is God’s Word. He wrote it, so we know everything in it is true.
Stop hiding your light, God made you to shine!
2 Timothy 1:7 – For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
When I was young, my boy cousins used to tell me, “You fight like a girl.” Oh yeah, I do! Boys may fight with their fists or legs, but girls use everything God gave them to fight. When push came to shove, I would scratch, pinch or bite to win. In life’s battles, we need to use everything we have to stand up and be brave.
I have had the distinct honor of being a mother to a son and an aunt to 4 nieces. My desire for all of them has been and is to chase hard after God. My dream would be for them to choose to live according to God’s word and not the world. To be brave through the light of God’s Word.
How to be brave and fight like a girl.
Living for God in the world is brave.
Making God the deciding factor in the choices you make is brave.
Defining yourself as a child of God is brave.
Leaving your sin filled life behind and choosing to follow God’s will is brave.
Every morning when we wake up is a new opportunity to choose God and be brave. God’s grace and mercy give us a new day to serve him and fight Satan like a girl. Our world is no fairy tale. There is a battle raging all around us, a fight for our hearts, minds, and eternities. Every day we are faced with choices that if we chose to fight like a girl, with all God gave us, we could push our enemy back and take steps closer to God.
To Fight like a Girl, Choose the Following.
To chase after righteousness and godliness, like they were diamonds and gold.
To run with faith and not bogged down in fear.
To love instead of hate or jealousy.
To endure instead of give up.
To be gentle instead of harsh.
To study, pray and strive to live like Jesus. Being brave looks a lot like Jesus.
One of the biggest lies we tell ourselves is that we can be brave standing all alone. We can’t do anything without God by our side. Then we need the help of an accountability partner or close Christian friend. In Mark 6:7 Jesus sent the disciples out two by two and paired Moses and Aaron. So were Ruth and Naomi and Paul and Luke. Dynamic duos are seen all through the Bible.
Where two are more are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them. Matthew 18:20
A partner or friend can help keep you on track when your old nature tries to peek his head out.
So gear up by putting on the armor of God found in Ephesians 6:10-18 because this battle we are about to engage in is not of this world.
Even though we know this world is not our home, that doesn’t mean we just give up and refuse to stand against the assault that is happening all around us. No, as daughters of the King of Kings, we know that greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).
So with that in mind, let’s get up and fight like girls, in the battle. With the faith that God has placed us here for this. We were made for this battle.
No longer will we stand idle while Satan attacks our marriages, children, homes, countries, and churches.
Sweet sisters, it’s time to throw on some glitter and fight like a girl.
Pray that God will show you areas where you need to be brave and to lead you to people who will fight along side of you.
Challenge Yourself:What is God calling you to fight for? Take time this week to pray and seek His face. Then write down what steps you need to take to begin to fight like a girl.
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere man do to me?” Psalm 56:3-4
The Shackle of Fear
I think we have all had that feeling. The one in the pit in your stomach, your heart is about to jump out of your chest, and rush of thoughts as you drop into a pit of fear, anxiety and flat out terror. It comes sitting across the table from a doctor, stepping into an angry bosses office or for some being asked to be more than a flower on the wall.
We are human and fear is something we can’t avoid, but it is something we can control. Having that tingle down your spine can alert you to a hazardous situation or danger. However, allowing that fear to take hold of you and keep you from moving forward will be detrimental to your Christian walk.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 4:6-7
This doesn’t say that God will swoop down and change everything. It does say that if we take it to God. We will get peace. God understands that we will have fear and that we will need Him. Look at Psalm 56:3-4 “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere man do to me?” David doesn’t write, “If I am afraid.” He says, “When I am afraid.”
Becoming Fabulous because of a Faithful God
When we look at life just with our own eyes, we become fearful, fugitive & pessimistic. We start to second guess ourselves and every decision we ever made. When we look at the Bible and begin to see how God empowered normal average people. The Holy Spirit takes the Word of God and strengthens us and gives us courage that we didn’t know we had.
John tells us how God’s love fights fear.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” ~ 1 John 4:18
God doesn’t want us to be shackled to our fears. All throughout the Bible, God tells us how faithful He is.
1 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” ~ Isaiah 41:10
“Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.” ~ John 14:27
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” ~ 2 Timothy 1:7
“But now, this is what the Lord says…Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” ~ Isaiah 43:1
“An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.” ~ Proverbs 12:25
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” ~ Joshua 1:9
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” ~ Matthew 6:34
“Humble yourselves, then, under God’s mighty hand, so that he will lift you up in his own good time. Leave all your worries with him, because he cares for you.” ~ 1 Peter 5:6-7
“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” ~ Psalm 27:1
“’For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Do not be afraid, for I myself will help you,’ declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” ~ Isaiah 41:13-14
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” ~ Psalm 46:1
“The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? The Lord is with me; he is my helper.” ~ Psalm 118:6-7
“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” ~ Proverbs 29:25
“But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats.” ~ 1 Peter 3:14
“I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.” ~ Psalm 34:4
How to change my fears into fabulous
- Put your hope in God—in God and His Word rather than the unreliability of ourselves or others.
- Do what is right—according to God’s way of approaching life, not the world’s way, especially those cultural practices that go against God’s Word.
- You can choose to give God your fears
Choose to give God your fear
We have a faithful God. Who wants you to rely on him and step away from fear.
Your Faith Walk
Read John 14:27 and 16:33. What does Jesus promise to you?
John 14:27 New Living Translation (NLT)
27 “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.
John 16:33 New Living Translation (NLT)
33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
He is with you through any trouble. You can trust Him. Our God is trustworthy!
What might be holding you back from trusting Him whenever you are afraid?
#1: God loves you
John 3:16; John 16:27; Romans 5:5
God sent Jesus to die for you. He loves you. Jesus would have died for you even if you were the only person on earth.
#2: God knows what is happening to you and around you.
Matthew 6:31-32; Psalm 139:1-10
God is everywhere and knows everything. So, God knows what is going on in your life. He knows your needs and how best to meet them.
#3: God can change you or your situation.
Genesis 18:14; Luke 1:37
Is anything impossible for the Lord? NO! Our God is all-powerful. He is capable of doing anything He chooses to do that is in agreement with His character, will, plan and purposes.
#4: You can trust His goodness in whatever He chooses to do
Psalm 119:68; Proverbs 3:5
The Bible says that God is good, and what He does is good. It’s a choice to trust God and bank on His goodness.
What is causing you fear today? What are your choices for acting on that fear?
Pray about your fears and decisions you are making to trust God in them. Thank God for His grace toward you and His love for you.