The Error Is In Being Wrong

Sometimes I wonder why I hate terrorism so much.  I also wonder what the difference is between terrorism and freedom fighting.  Both categories of people fight for a cause, but the world praises one and criticizes the other.  I don’t think anyone would admit to being a terrorist, they would say that they are fighting for Jihad, Jesus, or their country. 

In the passage today, Paul says that it is not always wrong to be zealous, but it is implied that when you are zealous and wrong people suffer.  To be a fanatic for a cure for cancer is good, to be a fanatic for McDonald’s burgers would be strange.  It is not the zeal that is to blame, but the cause.  In our society people are skeptical of zeal and enthusiasm.  It is better to be ‘cool’ or to ‘chill’.  However, great decisions are not made by people who are just chilling.  Great decisions in history have been made by those who feel strongly and then act.  The point is, like Paul, that they are passionate about the truth.

Galatians 4:8-20

 8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. 9 But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces[d]? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? 10 You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! 11I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.

 12 I plead with you, brothers and sisters, become like me, for I became like you. You did me no wrong. 13 As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you, 14 and even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself. 15 Where, then, is your blessing of me now? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. 16Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?

 17 Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us, so that you may have zeal for them. 18 It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always, not just when I am with you. 19 My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, 20 how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you!


  1. To what are the people of Galatia turning?
  2. What does Paul fear?
  3. How does Paul treat the passion and zeal of his detractors?
  4. What are you passionate about?
  5. How could your passion be more like Paul’s?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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