Galatians 5:7 “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?”
( Further reading Galatians 5:1-13 )
In Galatians 5:7 Paul asks one of the biggest questions of this letter when talking to the church at Galatia. Paul said, “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?”. The heart of this question comes right back to me and you. Let us ask the question, “who did hinder you”.
This verse causes me to reflect back just a few years ago in my life. In fact, I look back at the end of 2009 to be exact. Rachel, the kids, and I got back from our first family trip to Florida. After getting back Rachel and I decided to do what we had been putting off for some time. We both wanted to get into shape. Yes, that meant getting into shape physically so we would look better, feel better and actually be healthier. It started out with the fact that we both wanted to look better if we were going back to the beach the following year. Who wouldn’t want to look better?
We immediately joined our local gym in Somerville, TN and began our ritual of weights and cardio three to four nights every week. Soon, our desire to look better was overshadowed by the fact that we ACTUALLY felt better physically and mentally. The fact that we felt better became enough motivation to keep on keeping on. In fact, looking better was just a bonus. Some may argue that they lacked seeing that part of my transformation anyway. LOL!
We continued steadfastly on our journey for approximately the next year and a half or so. In fact, when we on our next Florida vacation in 2010 I felt better than I had in years. I had lost a decent amount of weight, and the pounds I still had were in better shape than in years earlier. In short, I felt great and loved being in shape. I was running up to five and six miles at a time. Working out and running had become a PART of our lives. Being in shape was not something we were working towards; instead, it was something we were maintaining, continuing and getting better at.
Our routine continued through the biggest part of 2011. However, it was in September of 2011 that our working out gradually came to a halt. I was nearing the end of my masters program in counseling. At the end of the program I had to start my clinicals which meant after working all day at the office I would then have to go work another job to get my counseling hours in for my masters program. This started at the end of September 2011. My clinicals would last until February of 2012.
Once my clinicals in counseling started we had little time for family-time, and much less time to go and work out at the gym. Something had to give, and the first thing was our workouts. Rachel didn’t want to go without me. That was when we both learned how much we were motivation to one another. Our priorities changed because we firmly believe in God being first, family second, ministry third, and so on. Workouts got pushed further back on the list because we could not neglect the most important things in our lives. ( God, family & ministry )
I finished my clinicals, graduated, and pretty much went right into counseling along with my day job, and my ministry still going strong. ALL GLORY TO GOD FOR THAT! Please understand when I say that it is by God’s grace that the ministry He has allowed me to be a part of has gone well. It is fully God, and I am but a tool in His tool chest to be used as the Master Crafter wants to use me. Praise Jesus! In other words, being busy got busier for me and certainly for our family.
Ok, so things got busy, but what does this have to do with workouts and being healthy? The fact is we had it in our minds and our schedule to start back working out once I got finished with my counseling clinicals and graduated. Busyness got busier and for the past two years workouts have been pushed aside. We have had BRIEF periods where we have tried to get back on track, but with little success. We have been HINDERED in our pursuit to get healthy and back in shape again. We were RUNNING WELL, but there was something that HINDERED us. It does not really matter what it was that HINDERED us. The fact is we are not at the level we once were in our physical condition.
Paul here in Galatians 5:7 addresses the problem of being hindered, but with a much greater issue in the lives of the church of Galatia. The Christians at the church of Galatia had originally heard the Gospel message and responded in a right manner. They received Christ by faith and placed their trust in Him as Savior and Lord. They were working, ministering and relying upon God to lead them according to His good pleasure.
However, at some point they got of course. First, Paul acknowledged that there was a time they were in good spiritual shape. He says to them, “Ye did run well”. Paul is saying to them there was a time you were obeying the truth of the Gospel message, and the leading of God. Then, he asks them the question that I believe had to prick their heart in a very convicting way. Paul says, “Ye did run well, who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?”. I think it must have been at that time where the reality of their behavior had to hit them like a bolt of lightening when he asked the question, “who did hinder you?”. They had been hindered from obeying the truth of God as reflected in this chapter of Galatians.
If we back up to the first part of Galatians 5 and look at verses 1-6 we see that Paul told these Christians (v1) “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” He instructs them that Jesus Christ was the Source and the Avenue to which they had been set free. Paul wanted them to know that the former things ( sin and it’s entanglements ) did not have to have ANY power over their lives any more because Jesus had made it so that they could be free from sins power.
Paul goes on in verses 2-5 to discuss the practice of circumcision with these believers. He rounds out his discussion on the practice in verse 6 by saying, “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith which worketh by love.”. The huge HINDRANCE that these believers had at this time were the judiazing teachers that were around them. These believers started well when they first put their trust in Christ for salvation, but the judiazing teachers of that time came trying to preach a false gospel. These teachers were trying to teach that one needed to follow in circumcision, the laws of Moses, or having a mix of works and faith in Christ to obtain justification and salvation. The judiazing teachers were the one’s Paul was referring to when he asked the question, “who did hinder you”.
Paul says in verse that circumcision or uncircumcision does not matter. He is not saying the process of circumcision is a bad thing. He is saying that if we put our trust in any good work, anything, or anyone other than Jesus Christ then it does us NO good. Jesus Christ is the ONLY one that man can find salvation through.
So let me ask you, “What is it in your life today that is HINDERING you from being all that Jesus wants you to be?”. The hindrance for the believers here in Galatia were the false teachings by the judiazing teachers of that time. The believers were knocked off course from “obeying the truth of God”. We all have different things in our lives that are competing for our time, our attention, and our resources. School, work, finances, pain, hurt, suffering, bitterness, busy schedules, lifestyles, vacations, friends, video games, television, sports and so forth.. Many of the things that hinder us are not necessarily bad things in themselves, but when they HINDER ( get in the way ) of allowing us to be obedient to God they become bad things in our lives.
So what are we to do to guard against these HINDRANCES? I think Paul gives us great instruction here. Verse 1 says, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free”. Compare this with Galatians 5:13, “For, bretheren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”. If you are in Christ, you have been set free. You have been made free from the power of sin in your life. A person still has the ability to sin, but God has made you free in such a way that we don’t have to let sin have power and authority in our lives any longer. Responsibility comes with this freedom. Stand firm in “obeying the truth” so that you use this freedom and liberty to serve one another in love, and not as an excuse to sin.
In closing, if you are a child of God I urge you to examine your life today. See if there is anything hindering you from obeying God in any part of your life. Ask God to help you see any hindrances that you don’t see yourself. Once you realize something that is hindering you from being who God wants you to be, ask Him to forgive you, turn away from it, and trust God to help you along the way!