“When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, for he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived he drew back because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel I said to Cephas in front of them all, ‘You are a Jew yet now you are acting like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it then that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs? We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So, we too have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by our faith in Christ and not by the
works of the law, because by the works of the law no one is justified.”
Galatians 2:11-16 NIV
I like comfortable. I like comfortable shoes and comfortable chairs. I like comfortable restaurants serving my favorite comfort foods. Many of us will have made New Year’s resolutions, only to return to our old comfortable ways; just because we’re kinda comfortable with our old way of doing things!
Henry Ford said, “if you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got!”
We find our friends in Galatians reverting to what they always did; following a system of rules as the way to reconcile their relationship back to God. Jews didn’t eat with Gentiles; they were considered unclean. They were even teaching and leading others to follow their old ways. Jesus brought them something new. Jesus brought them grace and mercy in place of striving and strife. But whether it was from a feeling of not being in control, or not being comfortable with this “new covenant” of grace; the church in Galatia returned to a “works” mindset. Trying to live by the law, leads to bondage because you never can quite measure up to the perfection the law requires. The purpose of the law was to reveal our desperate need for another way… And Jesus said, “I AM THE WAY”.
What keeps you from praying? No really…. what keeps you from praying? Is it time, do you feel unequipped, or just complacent and comfortable? Do you feel apathy or a sense of urgency? Maybe your quest for comfort has led you to feel you can disconnect and disengage spiritually. But sweet sisters and brothers, whether you like it or not; you can’t disengage…because We Are At War. Ephesians 6 says, “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places”.
John Piper proposes that the reason believers are prayerless, is “there is a peacetime casualness in the church. If we’re going to sustain a heart for prayer, we’ve just got to believe and feel that life is war. The number one reason why prayer malfunctions in the hands of believers is because they try to take a wartime walkie-talkie and turn it into a domestic intercom by which they ring up the maid to bring them another pillow”. I’m praying that we get comfortable with prayer. I’m praying we get uncomfortable with “not” praying! I’m praying we get comfortable with praying without ceasing. I’m praying that we are found faithful with “armoring up” and going to war in prayer!