"My little children, for whom I am again in the pain of childbirth, until Christ is formed in you..."
I've heard the stories. Pain. Lots of pain. Drama. Struggle. Joy Relief. CHILDBIRTH. Women over the centuries know this experience. Sure, some may have epidurals to help ease some of the pain... but it's still basically the same experience. Childbirth is the end of the period known as pregnancy. Life is stirring, growing, maturing until (hopefully) a fully-formed & healthy baby is ready to enter the world. Nine months of hope, expectation and joy culminates in an intense period of pain.
Paul uses the imagery of childbirth to describe the relationship he has with the young believers in Galatia. Their heart is in the right place, but they haven't matured enough to have "Christ formed" in them. So Paul, as he wrestles with the issues the Galatians are struggling with, understands the "BIG PICTURE." He doesn't get too discouraged with them, but sees it as the ongoing birthing (read "maturing") process, that will have pain associated with it.
As I prepare for my next sermon series this is also weighing heavy on my heart. "THE SURVIVAL GUIDE" will be looking at essential practices to living out our faith as Christians. Practices (worship, prayer, involvement, giving & small groups) that help one mature in such a way so that CHRIST IS FORMED IN US! it is my prayer for my Confirmation Class - and my entire congregation... that Christ might be fully formed in them!
This needs to be my prayer. Regularly. And I need to keep my sight on The Big Picture. Maturity. Christ fully-present. Thanks for the reminder, God.