Galatians 4:17-20 KJV (NIV link below)
17They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them.
18But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.
19My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,
20I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you.
A Sorrowful Mother
Paul may have seemed harsh with the Galatians, but his harshness came from a place of love, not selfishness. He contrasts himself with those who are leading the Galatian Church astray. Both the judaizers and Paul wanted zealousness, but while this group of “judaizers” wanted zealous Galatians to promote their sect, Paul seemed concerned with zealousness for Christ. His name is unimportant. He felt like a mother whose child has gone astray and he was having to go through labor for the child all over again. It’s easy to be led astray by the newest thing or pursue novelty for the sake of novelty. What is difficult is to remain committed to a single cause and, from it, show an undying love to a group of people who are utterly rejecting both you and this cause.
What do you think: Have you ever felt the urge to explore some new philosophy that you new ran counter to the Christian gospel? How about certain actions that you knew were contrary to the Spirit that lived within you? Have you ever felt the pain of someone you had been close to in the faith seeming to abandon it? It seems that in our contemporary culture we are urged to be “zealous” about many things. We should be zealous for certain foods, or brands, or fashion accessories. Often times, zealousness on peripheral things is praised and glorified. Particularly relevant this time of year might be basketball (or other sports) or secular politics. Do you sometimes find it hard to be zealous with a good purpose in mind? What would happen if your energy directed at zealousness in one of these other areas was redirected toward the cause of Christ?
**Side note: If Paul can be a mother, then we should really be ok with all Christians being “sons”.