Tag Archives: Galatians

Bear-ing Comes “Naturally” To Christians

polar-bearPolar bears are cute, cuddly, and look like they want a big hug…or, not. In fact, polar bears are amazing killing machines. They can smell prey from miles away. They can run, swim, and attack with great power. And, for five scientists in an expedition on Russia’s Troynoy Island, polar bears posed a great risk.

For the last two weeks, 10 polar bears surrounded the research building of five meteorologists, holding them captive. The bears even camped against the building, near the windows. Their presence disrupted the research and forced the researchers to remain in the building at all times. Help, in the form of “pyrotechnics and guard dogs” finally arrived yesterday to scare the bears away.

Of course, we can’t blame the bears! If you are a Polar Bear, you hunt; it’s what you do. And if you are a polar bear living in a harsh environment of ever-shrinking ice, shorter hunting seasons, and less prey available, and catch a whiff of something to feed your family…you look for a meal.

I preached a sermon once about the 3 Bears in Galatians 6. Of course, I’m not the first, by any means, to see the connection or preach that lesson. But one thing I didn’t emphasize was that simple thought – bears can be expected to do what bears do.

Here’s a thought, though: “Can Christians be expected to do what Christians should do?” The 3 bears of Galatians 6 are: bear the burdens of others (6:2), bear our own burdens (6:5), and bear the marks of Jesus (6:17). So…is it natural? Is it instinctual?

It depends. Helping others, doing works of faith, and modeling Christ-likeness are not natural to the human condition. Consuming is our natural default. But, if we are Christians, raised to live in Christ, then our nature has been changed. In fact, the “bear-test” is a really good way to see if we are in Christ (2 Corinthians 13:5).

When you “sniff” a need, do you become a Galatians spiritual bear? Or do you revert back into something fleshly of this world? Just a little “food” for thought…

Urged To Finish

runners-olympic, hugOccasionally, at the Olympics, we get the privilege of witnessing something greater than a world record being broken. Because these moments are so rare, they are even more precious than gold medal victories. Sometimes, because of an accident, we get to see what true sportsmanship is all about.

Often, a person’s true nature and character are revealed in times of stress, pain, and disappointment. It is easy to be “all smiles” when you are at the top of the podium receiving a gold medal. But how we react when we get tripped up and see our dreams crashing in front of us, well…that is a true measure.

That is why I was so impressed with American athlete, Abbey D’Agostino, and New Zealand’s, Nikki Hamblin, in Tuesday’s 5,000 meter run. Due to a mid-race collision, Hamblin tripped and fell, causing Abbey to fall as well. What they did next represents a greater spirit than competition.

You see, as Nikki sat there, stunned, Abbey D’Agostino put her hand on Nikki’s shoulder, and urged her to finish. Hamblin recalled Abbey yelling, “Get up, get up! We have to finish! This is the Olympic Games. We have to finish this.'” And as the pair went on, when it was obvious that Abbey had trouble finishing due to her injury, Nikki returned the favor, encouraging Abbey to finish.

When the race was finished, Hamblin said a great thing about D’Agostino: “I am so grateful to Abbey for helping me.’ “That girl was the Olympic spirit right there. I am so impressed and inspired by that.” Nikki and Abbey didn’t know each other, but now they have a bond that can never be broken. They overcame adversity together and finished the race.

In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus reminds us what our attitude should be. It wasn’t the champions of that day (Pharisees, Priests, etc.,) who stopped to help the man who was beaten and robbed. It was a lowly Samaritan who showed the right heart (Luke 10:30-37).

The Apostle Paul saw some Galatians who had been “running well” in their faith but had stumbled because of bad teaching (Galatians 5:7). He helped pick them up, and he encouraged them to run their race “by the spirit,” not the flesh (Galatians 5:16). Finishing the race is more about how we run than coming in 1st (2 Timothy 4:7).

Everyone stumbles in life. We all need encouragement. There are two types of runners generally: 1) Those who say, “They can pick themselves up!”; or 2) Those who say, “Let’s finish this race together.” What kind of runner will you be?