Tag Archives: Galatians

A Person of Influence

Who are the people who have influenced your life – who have had an effect or impact upon your character, development, thoughts or behavior? How has your life been different because of them? What about them gave them influence?

Have you ever thought of yourself an influencer? The apostle Paul has some good news resulting from the birth of Jesus. “But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son … that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts…” (Galatians 4:4-6)

Consider the phrase “God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts.”

Notice – the Spirit is given to us – we don’t need to ask for Him or do anything to receive Him He is given to us! He comes as a gift – He’s part of the inheritance package we looked at last week, part of the salvation life! We have been  influenced.

Be sure to catch the heart of this: God not only sent Himself to us, God sent Himself into us! We not only have access to the riches of God but we have God Himself! Recall God’s promise to Abraham: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” (Genesis 15:1) and the words of the Psalmist: “The Lord is my portion, O my soul…” (Psalm 16:5).

Yet I believe we have a problem. God works so constantly, so quietly, that sometimes we forget He’s in us. Someone has appropriately pointed out that our experience of the Holy Spirit is like wearing eyeglasses. The only time we really look at them is when we’re looking for them. Glasses are not made to be seen so much as to be seen through. They function best when we don’t notice them. We examine them to remove specks of dirt and dust and smears; but when they function properly they sit on our nose and we are all but unaware of them. We don’t see our glasses when we wear them, but when we wear them, we see! So it is with the Holy Spirit – when He’s doing His greatest work we will be totally unaware – but He is still at work.

And what is He doing? He’s remaking us, shaping us, growing us. Whereas our inheritance gave us position the Holy Spirit gives us regeneration. Paul points out that the Spirit has been sent into our hearts – not into our brains, nor into our intellect, but into the very seat of our affections, emotions, and desires. He resides in the center of our being. In Psalm 37:4 David wrote, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” For years I limited the meaning of this verse to the idea that if we delight in the Lord He would give us whatever we desire. But that’s only a half-truth; I now recognize that it has a double meaning. The whole truth is that when we delight ourselves in the Lord, He plants the good and proper desires in our hearts. So naturally He’ll give them to us! So yes – God gives us the desires of our hearts. And those desires pertain to godliness, to Christ-likeness.

Just as the heart pumps blood into all parts of our body, so the Spirit within us – God Himself – sends His influence and likeness into every fiber of our being – into every power, every faculty, every thought. That’s why Paul wrote so often about our constant progression – our sanctification – into Christ likeness. The older I get the more I recognize how much like my father I am becoming – in looks, posture, attitude, and behavior. It reminds me that I am also growing into the likeness of Christ, and that He who began a good work in me will bring it to completion. What an influence there is in me through the presence of Christ.

I invite you to dwell on these 2 facts.                                                                Fact #1 – God is in you wherever we go. When you wake up in the morning remember this. It will influence your plans. It will influence you when you’re alone or in a crowd. It will influence you in your business and your home. Realize the power and potential it gives you. It will change the places you go, the thoughts you think, and the things you do.
Fact #2: God sent the Spirit of His Son into your heart. God is within you! He influences you to influence others. You have the right and the mandate to act and live as a child of God – for so you are. And when you do, you will be a person of influence. Only God knows how many will be influenced by you – and ultimately by Jesus!


Glasses – Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

“With All Your Heart” Photo by Brittney Burnett on Unsplash

Dove and Heart Photo from www.storyblocks .com

Claiming Your Unclaimed Inheritance


Government custodians are holding over $58 billion in unclaimed money owed 80 million missing owners and heirs. Have you ever received a notice that you may be one of those missing heirs? Did you go online to check? If you did, I hope you found something of value and didn’t come up empty.

But are you aware of an even greater inheritance that is yours – with much less paperwork and effort? In preparing for Christmas I’m reminded that in sending His Son Jesus as His ultimate love gift to us, God has left the greatest inheritance of all. And you are an heir because through Jesus you hold a powerful position. The Apostle Paul wrote “What I am saying is that as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world. But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons…” (Galatians 4:1-6)

Consider the phrase “Because you are his sons…” In Paul’s day the first-born son was the top dog and heir – everything would be his. If something happened to him then the next son would get everything. In no case would a daughter ever be the heir and get anything. So Paul was being progressive and radical by saying “Because you are sons…” Even the women – the third and fourth born, the cousins, the grandkids, you, me. All of us! We have been given the full rights of a natural born, mature heir. The Roman father had the discretion to determine when a son was “of age” to become the legal heir to his estate. Until that time the son had no more access to the inheritance than a slave. So Paul says God chose the time when Jesus came and gave us our inheritance. He paid the price; through no merit of our own we have the full rights of natural born sons. As the apostle John wrote (1Jn. 3:1), “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”

Perhaps you can recall the thrill and honor of being chosen for that starring role, or making the team, or winning the award, or being elected to that key position, or receiving that honor or recognition, or getting that job you so desperately desired; it only pales in comparison with the thrill, honor, and privilege of being chosen by God, of being granted full status, equal with his Son, Jesus. That’s right – equal to the status of Jesus. We are His brothers and sisters!

Think about that. Whatever belongs to Christ belongs to us! We have the same name, the same inheritance, the same position, the same rights as Jesus! When so many people are having identity crises, trying to find out who they are, trying to discover their inner selves, searching for their roots, trying to build their sense of self-worth on their achievements – we can be secure in the knowledge that we are positioned as children of God the Father, in equal standing with Jesus! It doesn’t get any better than this! As the Living Bible paraphrases verse 7, we have access to “everything God has.” Whatever belongs to Christ belongs to us. We don’t need to earn it, buy it, deserve it – it’s ours!

And we can begin to draw on it even now! The Bible tells us God has made available to us the riches of His grace (Eph. 1:7), the riches of His glory (Phil. 4:19), the riches of His goodness (Rom. 2:4), and the riches of His wisdom (Rom. 11:33).

There’s an old story about a farm family who, many years ago, lived in dire poverty. One Christmas someone sent them their first mirror. The teen-aged boy saw himself for the first time. He said to his mother: “Mom, look how ugly I am. How can you love me when you see how dirty and ugly I am?” She put her arm around him and with tears in her eyes replied, “Because you are mine.” The truth is, it’s not who we are but whose we are that really matters. This is the secret of our dignity and worth as persons. It is through our relationship with Jesus Christ that we have such a position of status and prestige! We are full and legal heirs of all God has to offer! We have a right to claim it all for we have a powerful position. As you prepare for Christmas remember that the Son of God became the Son of Man so the children of men could become the children of God. Go ahead – claim your inheritance. You won’t come up empty!

Will Photo from www.storyblocks.com                                                    Trophy Photo by Ariel Besagar on Unsplash                                                        Mirror Photo by Jacalyn Beales on Unsplash

So So

I was in the sixth grade (in those days that was still elementary school). I was part of the safety patrol – responsible at an intersection for making sure no students crossed the street until it was clear to do so. One day, a much younger boy tripped and fell right near my corner. So I helped him up made sure he was okay, which he was. Shortly thereafter I ran for Mayor of the school. My mother told me that another mother had shared with her that her son had voted for me because I had been so nice to him the day he fell. It, of course, made my mother feel some pride – and I was always happy when that happened! But I remember thinking that it was really nothing special that I did, and wondered if it wasn’t something that anyone would have done. Little did I realize at that time a couple of lessons. One – not everyone would have helped. Two – I had experienced the divine law of reciprocity. Both lessons would be reinforced many, many times throughout my life.

Yet it was many years later when I finally recognized the divine nature of my actions. Paul said it most clearly in two passages: Galatians 6:7-10 – “A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we will not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” And he mentioned the same principle in 2 Cor. 9:6 in regards to giving. “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” Whether it’s in giving, or in praying, or in loving, or in our relationships what we sow, we reap. Even if we do not see it right away, God will reciprocate – it’s His promise.

I admit that sometimes I get weary of sowing all the time and begin to feel as if there is no return. After all constant sowing can be boring and not all that exciting – sometimes even burdensome. But since it’s a promise of God, I’ve adopted a principle: “When life is just so so, just sow sow.” Even if I never see the return in this life, I will in eternity. Then again, when I stop the self-pity routine and examine my life, I begin to see again the blessings God has poured into my life. He, like my little fellow student, votes for me in a myriad of ways through the blessings He sends – and I know there are many blessings I will never realize until that great and glorious day! In fact, I shudder to think of life without the blessings. I’m convinced that the saddest people, and some of the most depressed, are often those who are not sowing. So their lives are just so so – lacking in blessing and joy. The bottom line is we all have a choice – we can live so so lives or sow sow lives; it all depends on what we want out of life. “When life is just so so, just sow sow.”

And I’ve discovered one more element about the sow sow life. Once we begin to sow it becomes a habit, a pattern, a life-style. Without realizing it we are soon sowing into others lives not because we want a return but because it’s what we were created to do; therefore we feel a sense of inner peace and joy, a sense of fulfillment whenever we sow. And really, that’s blessing enough. Come to think of it, that’s when we’re most like Christ. No wonder it’s enough. So – will your life be so so or sow sow? Remember, what you sow, you reap.