Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart: http://sothrichfield.podbean.com
Galatians 4:12-20 (NIV)
12 I plead with you, brothers and sisters, become like me, for I became like you. You did me no wrong. 13 As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you, 14 and even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself. 15 Where, then, is your blessing of me now? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. 16 Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? 17 Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us, so that you may have zeal for them. 18 It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always, not just when I am with you. 19 My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, 20 how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you!
Paul didn’t originally plan to preach to the Galatians. He was sidetracked by an illness. Nevertheless, God used Paul to plant a church! Paul spent time living with the Galatians, learning their culture and loving them. In his preaching of the gospel, he was able to communicate Christ in a way that was understandable. His relationship with them was crucial. When Paul says, “become like me, for I became like you”, (Gal 4:12) Paul is encouraging them to follow his example of faithfulness. Paul is a wonderful reminder that many times, the best way to communicate Christ’s gospel of grace and love is to live in relationship with people! It is true, “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ”. (Rom 10:17) Faith also grows through relationship. Today, thank God for those you get to live in community with. What do you hope they learn about God through your example?