This devotional is Day 15 of the 25-Day Advent Series “The Wonders of His Love.” Follow along with us as we grow in grace through the Christmas story by subscribing or bookmarking the home page above!
Scripture: Galatians 4:1-7
Every day we are challenged by our human desires and every day we must choose God over our nature. If we struggle on an ordinary day, I believe we struggle that much more on days that thwart our routine – holidays being many of them.
Though Christmas is for Christ, we often forget that as we hustle for approval, sweat over hosting, and break the bank for recognition.
There are many slippery slopes as we approach the beloved day of Jesus. I know for myself it is easier than I’d like to admit to fall away from the fundamental principles of my faith, of who Jesus is in my life and what that means for the choices I make.
We are knee deep in that time of the year and I am eagerly praying for discipline and focus as I move forward day to day.
“Thank you, Lord for your word. That I may be convicted and reminded of your commission on my life.”
Why these two things? Because when I am frolicking on the line of eternity what I need the most is a reminder of who I was before Christ, what Christ did for me, and what that means for how I intentionally live my life.
Galatians 4:1-3 “I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, 2 but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. 3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world.”
I remember vividly the dark alley I was wandering around before Jesus met me. Living for the quick satisfaction and approval of others. I had no idea the level of depravity my heart was in.
So, when Paul says “…when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles…” He is referring to our sin. Our human desires and temptations. Both Jewish and Gentile religion were focused on personal works as if needing to achieve something to be accepted by God.
That thought process is very childlike and far from what the Truth tells us. That truth, instead, is that by faith alone we are saved. He meets us where we’re at and wants only for us to take His hand.
When I remember that dark alley, and the King’s willingness to step down from His throne, I am convicted of my fluctuation with His promises.
Galatians 4:4-5 “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”
So, why can we trust in His hand? Why does the step away from the dark alley mean so much?
Because He went through it all. “…God sent forth his son, born of a woman, born under the law…” Jesus walked this earth experiencing the same trials we experience. He felt temptation, He was hated, He was judged, He was mocked, and He was crucified.
He walked the path before us so that we may then walk forward knowing He is with us and for us.
We are protected under His sacrifice, but we are also protected under grace because He knows what we fight.
So, we’re saved, He meets us, but then what? We must respond knowing that He is better than everything we once knew. Those elementary principles? He is better. How can we let ourselves falter away knowing what this means for us?
Galatians 4:6-7 “And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.”
Something I am beyond thankful for on a daily basis is the Holy Spirit. We may believe what we talked about above, but we are also guaranteed to sin. That’s why we need Jesus every day. Welcome the Spirit that convicts and guides us to become more and more Christlike.
God does not just leave us alone after the moment of salvation, He gives us what we need to live for Him. We are without excuse but to fight for Him every day.
When I am facing approval dead in the eyes, when I am fighting for recognition or feeling the weight of stress: I remember that Jesus is better.
When I am watching the meaningless and temporary satisfactions of this world fill my heart, I remember the alley I was lost in. When I am noticing my focus fall on outside things, I remember the cross and focus my eyes on that.
My point is, every day we have that challenge. Simply remembering who Jesus is to us and what that means for everyday tasks, will set your focus on divine things rather than the selfish things of our human nature.
Let God fill you with His words and let that truth flow through your interactions both on and off the Holidays.
About the Author
Amy Hornbuckle is a writer full time, wife to Dillon, part time Children’s Director at her church, and is passionately pursuing the word and walk of God. Outside of the ministry she is an adventure junkie who loves to take her dog hiking, camping, trail running, paddle boarding, …essentially anything outside and you can find her there! Here blog: www.ingraceandknowledge.com