I am convicted this morning by a verse I read from Galatians. I will get to that in a minute.
For the last month or so I have not been doing personal Bible Study. I am ashamed to admit that; but, it is true. I have been doing only the minimal amount of praying and only for other people.
Why would I do this or let this happen? Well, you know the excuses. 'I am too busy', 'I am too tired,' 'I forgot,' 'I can't concentrate,' 'The kids need too much of my time.' Shall I go on? No, I think not.
Translated, they all mean that I am too lazy to do what I need to do. I know this about myself and I fight it daily. Sometimes, I don't fight it enough.
So, on to this morning. The dog woke me up much earlier than I had intended to open my eyes. She saw a squirrel and was in desperate need of chasing it! I crawled back in bed and was just about to fall into that warm, black place when I felt a voice saying to me, 'Spend time with the Lord'. Yes, maybe later after the alarm goes off. Again, almost to that sought after sleep the voice calls again. This time, my eyes pop open and I realize that I am a lazy wretch (okay, not a new realization just a fresh vision of it!) and God is calling me. I had better answer.
I made my coffee and decided that the quiet wasn't so bad after all!
I read through the book of Jude and found some wounds were opening up. But, it wasn't until I picked up the Bible Study book I have been using that I found real conviction. The method that I was to use today was to look at a Scripture passage using several translations to view the differences and gain a fresh insight to them.
I had SEVEN translations laid out before me. The passage was Galatians 2:17-21. Here it is:
"If, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if justification were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose."
Now, some of the differences in the versions wordings are interesting.
Verse 17 had these differences: made right with, justified, put right with
God forbid, May it never be, Of course not, Absolutely not, By no means
Verse 18: transgressor, guilty, breaking the law, law-breaker
Verse 21: nullify, frustrate, treats as meaningless, reject, set aside
All of these differences had me thinking. But, it wasn't until I read the entire passage all together that it made an impact.
I read each version and was stopped in my tracks when I read the Living Bible. I have to admit that I don't read this version much, I don't like it. It is a personal preference. However, God used this version to prick my heart this morning.
Verse 21 from the New Living Bible reads like this:
"For I am not one of those who treats the grace of God as meaningless. For if we could be saved by keeping the law, then there was no need for Christ to die."
"For I am not one of those..." Actually, I think that I am. This is where I have been living. I have been taking Gods grace and His sacrifice for granted. I have been setting it aside, rejecting it, nullifying it, frustrating it, and treating it as meaningless.
Every time I chose to do something else, I was doing this.
It breaks my heart to admit this; but it breaks my heart even more that it took me this long to see it. I am a stubborn, stiff-necked child who can't see the forest for the trees.
I am going to print this verse out and hang it on the window above the kitchen sink, on my bathroom mirror, on the computer monitor, and anywhere else that I am standing still long enough to read it.
I need reminded of it often.
There but for the Grace of God, go I.