Gospel relationships (Galatians 5 v 26 – 6 v 5))

Explore God's Word Daily
Explore God's Word Daily

This short passage is bristling with practical principles for how we relate to others.

Read Galatians 5:26 and Galatians 6:1

• What does Paul warn his readers not to become (v 26)?
• From 6 v 1-5, how would you define conceit?

Conceit is a desire to be given the honour and glory we feel we deserve. We want to be noticed! So we feel we need to prove our worth, to ourselves and to others. This fixates us on constantly comparing ourselves with others. When we seem
better than someone else in some way, our “honour-hunger” puffs us up and elates us. When we seem to be inferior to someone else, we are devastated.

• According to verse 26, what are the two possible effects of conceit on relationships?

So conceit either leads to us saying: “I've got what you don't—ha!” (which provokes) or: “You've got what I don't— unfair!” (envy).

But the gospel creates a whole new selfimage. It humbles us before others, telling us we are sinners saved only by grace. But it gives us boldness before others, telling us we are loved and honoured in the only eyes in the universe that really
count. So the gospel produces a boldness and a humility that do not compete, but can increase together. And we need to preach that gospel to ourselves right in the middle of situations where we're tempted to provoke or to envy, to think of ourselves as superior or inferior.

• Do you have more of a tendency to “provoke” or to “envy” in relationships?
• How will you use the gospel to overcome that tendency?

• What principles does Paul lay down in 6 v 1?

In 5 v 14 Paul told us the law can be summarised “in a single command: ‘Love
your neighbour as yourself’”.

• How does he tell us we can fulfil this in 6 v 2?

How and why do Christians struggle at living out both 6 v 1 and v 2 in relationships?
• What could you do practically to obey better: • v 1? • v 2?
Verses 2 and 5 seem contradictory! But “burdens” (v 2) is not the same as “load” (v 5). Burdens are the tasks and problems that we can help others with. The word “load” refers to a kind of backpack. God has given each of us a different set of opportunities in which to obey Him. These are our load—and we must each carry that pack ourselves.

This devotional is taken from Explore—a daily Bible-reading devotional from the good book company which enables you to engage with Scripture and which will encourage, equip and inspire you to live for Christ. Explore features contributions from pastors such as Dr Timothy Keller, Mike McKinley and Tim Chester.

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Originally published December 14, 2011.

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