7Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow. 8If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. 9So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest-time, if we do not give up. 10So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.
11See what large letters I make when I am writing in my own hand! 12It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh that try to compel you to be circumcised—only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13Even the circumcised do not themselves obey the law, but they want you to be circumcised so that they may boast about your flesh. 14May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything; but a new creation is everything! 16As for those who will follow this rule—peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
Reading Scripture to Know:
- What is happening/being said? (Observation)
- Why is this happening/being said? (Interpretation)
- What does the rest of Scripture say about it? (Evaluation)
- What does it mean? (Understanding)
- What does it mean for us? (Application)
Reading Scripture to Grow:
- What words or phrases stand out to you? Why?
- Where do you hear the voice of God in this Scripture?
- How do you see the character of God reflected in this Scripture?
- How does this Scripture reveal God?
- How does this Scripture expose humanity and its need for God?
- How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in your life?
- How does this Scripture speak to what is happening in our world?
- What might God want to communicate to you (us) this week through this Scripture?
Reflection: In this passage, Paul writes about sowing seed and receiving a harvest that is reflective of that seed sown. Then he goes on to write about boasting. Look at the seed bags above. Imagine that they are bags of words divided into categories. One bag is filled with encouragement; one bag is full of criticism. One bag is labeled “humble, gracious words” while another bears the markings of “proud boasting.” One bag houses a robust, bright seed called “kindness.” Next to it is a bag that holds a shriveled seed named “spite.” Which seed bags will you pick up today? Which words will you sow? They may just grow where you leave them and return to you in full flower.
- Tuesday, June 28 – Luke 5
- Wednesday, June 29 – Luke 6
- Thursday, June 30 – Luke 7
- Friday, July 1 – Luke 8
- Saturday, July 2 – Luke 9
- Sunday, July 3 – Luke 10
- Monday, July 4 – Luke 11
Prayer Focus: This week pray this simple prayer: Father, humble me. However, heed this warning – this is a dangerous prayer! Humility is necessary to plant the fruitful seed of God’s will over the fruitless seed of our own will. Planting God’s seed will produce an abundant, good harvest. But humility might lead you to places you do not want to go and to struggles that lead you in utter dependence to the arms of God. Humility led Jesus to a cross and it will lead you into death to the ways of self and the world. However, Paul reminds us that with such humility also comes peace and mercy. Will you allow God to sow this seed within the fertile field of your very being? As the band Sixpence None the Richer sang, so shall we pray:
The harvester is near // His blade is on your skin // To plant a new beginning // Well, then, let the cut begin.
Meditation Focus: Picture yourself standing at the foot of the cross. Jesus is there upon the cross; you can both see each other, talk to one another, and hear one another. You begin to tell Jesus about all of your accomplishments and achievements. You tell Jesus all of the things about you that make you so grand, lovable, worthy of honor and praise, and superior. What is Jesus’s reaction? What words does he say to you in response? What does your boasting look like in the shadow of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross? Ask God to humble you as you meditate on these words from Paul’s letter to the Philippians:
5Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, 6who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, 7but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, 8he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death— even death on a cross. 9Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, 10so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11)
Do you still feel like boasting? What do you feel like saying to Jesus now?
Journaling Focus: What does the cross mean to you? Is it an embarrassment? Is it life-giving? Is it too gruesome to think about? We are told to boast in the cross. What does this mean? How can we do this, especially in a world in which the whole concept of the cross seems so foolish? What realities does the cross force us to confront, even though they are uncomfortable. As you write, construct a written prayer to God asking that you be given a proper view of the cross. Allow for the cross to become creative within you, not destructive. Give yourself over to a cross life. What would this mean for you?
Breath Prayer: Father, may I (we) plant myself (ourselves) within your humble sacrifice.