Amidst New Year's resolutions and new beginnings, we crave something more. Therefore, at the beginning of each new year, here at Reality we typically go back to the basics and re-center ourselves on the root of true and lasting change. For 2016, that pursuit remains the same. In a word, we have committed to go back to the Gospel and never allow ourselves to leave that foundation. Not because it’s elementary. But because it’s revolutionary. During the month of January, we will be exploring the Gospel against the foil of religion to expose our hearts to the real promises of God.
As we finish this series, we will take a look at another common religious tendency. It’s what I call the religion of "me"- where we become the end of our religious pursuit. It’s the mentality- “As long as I get mine, I’m fine.” It's the selfish pursuit of something that addresses my sin, my problems, my pain, and my eternal future apart from anyone else. It's when we become the beginning, middle and end of our salvation. However, as Paul address the Galatians, he invites them to a faith that is deeply involved with others. Rather than consuming from God, we are invited into a life of cultivating with others. This is the gospel life of being a sower in the garden of God.
The next Gospel picture that the Apostle Paul grounds the Galatians in is their adoption as sons of God. This is not a sexist label, but a revolutionary status. Nothing combats our religious insecurities about our performance and doubts about our belonging more than our new name and place in the family of God. God the Father did not just send the Son and His Spirit to free us from law and pay off our debts, but to adopt us into His family as His children together. As a son, you have nothing to prove and your place in the family is secure.
In his letter to the Galatians, the Apostle Paul condemns the deep religious tendencies that creep into the lives of humanity. In Galatians 1:10, he talks about the human tendency to be a people pleaser and seek the approval of others. However, our freedom is not found in the throwing off of all restraints. Rather, it is found in being a servant of Christ. This week we will explore both the trap of the fear of men, and the freedom of Jesus as Master. Absolute allegiance to the Lordship of Jesus is the most liberating condition for your soul.
A few times a year in between our planned series, we leave a open Sunday to allow space for the Lord to address a particular theme or passage that He puts on our hearts. Over the past few months, He has continued to bring up the theme of religion as it pertains to our Reality family- religion, religiousness, and religiosity. This week we will expose the spirit of religion under the microscope and listen to the Spirit's call to the life and freedom of the Kingdom of God.