July 7

Galatians 6: 7-16

Karma is a word that has passed into popular usage from the religions of India. However, when Paul wrote to the Galatians, “You reap whatever you so”, he was not just thinking about the idea that whatever we do, good or bad, has its affect upon us either in this life or in some future life. He was specifically saying that if we live selfishly our lives are simply here-today-and-gone-tomorrow, of no more significance than that. But if we allow the Spirit of God to motivate us, we participate in life as God meant it to be, life in the kingdom of God, described also as eternal life. The comparison is made between weeds and valuable plants. No matter how apparently successful a life may be, if dominated by selfish desire it is wasted.  The only life that is of enduring value is the life empowered by God’s desire for unity and peace; that is, as life that reflects God’s love. It means then that the part of us that is driven by selfish desire is of no lasting worth, but that within us which is led by God’s Spirit lasts for ever. It is then a challenge for us, whenever we have the opportunity, to work for the good of all, especially for those who share this faith with us. And at the same time to open ourselves up, ever more fully, to the Spirit’s activity within.  But be aware, selfish desire shows up in the most unexpected places. Take, for example, groups, congregations or denominations within the church. When they gloat over their successes and take pride in winning converts to their group, they show that they are motivated, not by the Spirit of God, but by group selfishness. The issue for Paul was raised specifically by the existence of a group within the early church who said all Christian men had to be circumcised. ‘Rubbish!’, he says. All that matters is being part of God’s way of living (“The new creation,” he called it.) opened up for us through Jesus Christ by the activity of the Holy Spirit.

  • Have you any comment to make on this, “Selfish lives are wasted lives”?
  • What verse in Galatians 6: 7-10 gives rise to the above, “If we live selfishly our lives are simply here-today-and-gone-tomorrow, of no more significance than that”?
  • Where do you see selfish desire evident in the life of the church?
  • Where else do you see group selfishness being displayed?