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Devotional: January 8, 2021

I, Paul, and my companions in faith here, send greetings to the Galatian churches. My authority for writing to you does not come from any popular vote of the people, nor does it come through the appointment of some human higher-up. It comes directly from Jesus the Messiah and God the Father, who raised him from the dead. I’m God-commissioned. So I greet you with the great words, grace and peace! We know the meaning of those words because Jesus Christ rescued us from this evil world we’re in by offering himself as a sacrifice for our sins. God’s plan is that we all experience that rescue. Glory to God forever! Oh, yes!

Galatians 1: 1-5 The Message

Where are your priorities?

Who has authority in your life?

Where are you “anchored” in terms of meaning and purpose?

Questions such as these come up when we read these opening words from Paul’s letter to the Galatians. Paul does not disregard human authority. In fact, in chapter two, he works with some of the other church leaders to develop an effective evangelism strategy.

Yet what is striking here is that Paul sees his authority as coming straight from the Lord. It does not come from a popular vote of the people. Nor does it come from “some human higher up.” It comes straight from God.

Paul’s unshakeable belief in the Lord may be one reason why he was so fearless, and so persistent in his missionary journeys. Paul endured many challenges throughout his ministry. Although a Roman citizen, he still endured persecution at the hands of local authorities. He was determined to spread the word of the Lord. In spite of imprisonment, whippings, and being chased out of towns more times than he could even count, Paul never hesitated or questioned his faith in the Lord.

Our country’s leadership is going through changes. Yet just as Paul was justifiably proud of his Roman citizenship, and had respect for it, we are called upon to do the same. Regardless of how you voted, we should all take a page from Paul’s perspective on human authority. It is instructive for every one of us. Paul never saw politics as the “be all and end all” as to what life was all about. Paul definitely knew that Christ’s authority in his life was the “higher-up” in his life. His first allegiance was to Jesus, and His loyalty never wavered.

Paul shared with the Galatians words of grace and peace. This message is the same word I believe Jesus has for us today. This is wonderful news! Our spiritual allegiance and loyalty to Christ is the foundation for how we are to live out the rest of our lives. When our actions and words are guided by Christ’s authority, we are walking in the grace and peace Christ desires for all of us. How blessed it is that the God of the universe offers us love, grace, and peace, as we continue to move into this new year!

Prayer

Lord, I thank You that You have the perfect design for my life. Help me to seek and to follow Your plan. May I build upon it each and every day. Forgive me when I put my earthly desires above the goals You desire for me. May I find Your peace and grace settling within me. When I am anxious, help me to rest in Your ways, and Your will. I pray this prayer in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen


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