Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor. Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction: the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (NIV)
1. The young church was a community in which they shared what they had with each other. According to William Barclay, if one had more than another, that one felt compelled to share so some would not suffer while others had plenty. Many of the teachers of the early church traveled from city to city preaching. They depended upon the believers to support them. How might we apply this principle of sharing everything with those who teach us today? What might they need from us?
2. Why do you think Paul made a point to warn the Galatians not to be deceived-God cannot be mocked? In the context his warning is related to the fact that they will reap the results of their decisions and behaviors. How might they be deceived if they need a warning about reaping what they sow? How might they be "mocking" God, or not taking him seriously, if they need a warning about not indulging the sinful nature? How might being deceived affect whether or not one "please[s] his sinful nature" or "please[s] the Spirit"? (see I Cor. 6:9, II Cor. 9:6, Jeremiah 34:17, Proverbs 22:8)
3. Why might Paul have admonished the Galatians not to "become weary in doing good?" How can "doing good" become wearisome? Is "doing good" legalistic? In what ways or areas of your life do you become "weary of doing good?" Do you meet opposition when you devote yourself to doing good? (see Hebrews 12:3, II Cor. 4:1)
4. Why does Paul say we should do good to all people, but "especially to those who belong to the family of believers?" Are we more obligated to fellow believers than we are to the unbelieving? If so, in what ways? Is it harder to "do good" to those we know well than to those we don't know as well? (see I Timothy 5:8)
5. Words can convey opposite meanings depending upon whether they come from a heart of integrity or a heart of deceit. Legalism and grace often use the same words, but they connote different understandings. How do you understand the concept of "doing good?" Do you feel more drawn to "do good" to people you don't know well, or are you more drawn to "do good" to people with whom you're more intimate?
6. With whom in your life are you struggling to "do good?" Is there someone who needs your care for whom you have trouble caring? Are there people close to you for whom you feel more irritation than love? How do you "do good" to a family member who is also an unbeliever?
7. What relationship(s) do you need to submit to Jesus, asking him to help you love them for him? Of what are you "weary?" What attitudes and resentments to you need to submit to Jesus so he can help you to know how he wants you to "do good?"
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