Key verse: 4:19 – My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you…
Summary: Steve Jobs had said something recently which resonated with mey:
“Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
But suppose someone you care about (say your child) is depressed and tells us that they just don’t see the point in living in more. What do we do? We try to explain how their “dogma” is wrong and how it’s just not true. We try to remind them of their value and call them to drop their belief and trust in what we’re saying.
Paul felt they were committing spiritual suicide by turning to an entirely different kind of truth – an entirely different kind of doctrine.
Some would probably balk at the analogy with the opinion that it’s not the same when it comes to religion – but Paul did. The Galatians were teetering on the edge of detaching themselves from the dogma of “passive” righteousness where acceptance is given to you, and instead attaching themselves to their former dogma of “active” righteousness where acceptance is earned by you.
It was a constant battle for Paul, “I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.”
It’s hard not to reject these two categories when it comes to spirituality. To Paul, they were two entirely different paradigms, resulting in two entirely different modes of being. One led to life, the other leading to death. He invokes the metaphor of a mother when it comes to his anguish which gives us a model of approaching those “teetering” off the spiritual ledge.
Like a mother, Paul was:
concerned about their spiritual growth.
concerned primarily about the growth of their affection for Christ – as opposed to their affection for each other.
willing to bear pain and anguish, disappointment, rejection.
For Paul, his “truth” was not something he used as a weapon. He didn’t approach the Galatians as adversaries. Nor did he see his truth as strictly personal, and approach them passively by “just listening.” Truth was a scalpel. And he approached the Galatians with the skill of a doctor, and the heart of a mother – using these truths as a scalpel to cut and bring healing… so that they would step away from the ledge and set their affections on Christ and not on their idols.