Paul longs to have a loving relationship with the church of Galatia again. He appeals to them through his great parental love, calling them to remember when they were in a close relationship.
Two large pieces of paper, markers, pencils
Connecting with the Scripture Topic
- Sit in a circle. Take turns telling about the person who has been the greatest example to you of a life of love. Share a story to illustrate why you chose this person.
- Divide the group in half. Have each group draw a figure of a man or a woman. One group will write in a circle around their figure attributes that make a great spiritual mentor; the other group will write in a circle around their figure what attributes would make a poor spiritual mentor. Compare the drawings.
Sharing and Receiving Scripture
- How is Paul’s appeal to the church of Galatia different from any other letter he has written? What is different about his choice of words and the tone of his writing?
- Thought Questions
Read Corinthians 11:1. Following Paul’s example, what kind of life should we be living so that others can follow our example?
- Putting others before ourselves and having the heart of a servant
- Living a life of confidence in the assurance of salvation
- Being willing to leave a life of ease in order to minister
- Considering everything rubbish compared to knowing Christ
- Doing away with a law-centered religion
Read 1 Corinthians 9:19-23. In what ways can we make ourselves a “slave to everyone” in order to “win” them as Paul did?
- We can put aside all social boundaries and invite those rejected by others into our homes.
- We can dabble in some of the activities non-Christians do as long as we don’t get carried away.
- We can serve those in our community who are jobless and homeless.
- We can make our church a place where all are welcome, no matter what their lifestyle.
- We can go where the unsaved go and socialize with and befriend them.
Read Galatians 4:13, 14. How might your personal victory over an illness or relationship difficulty be used to help you minister to someone?
- Your weakness may cause others to listen to you because they hurt for you.
- Your strength may cause others to stop and listen because they admire you.
- You can truly empathize with those who are hurting, and they’ll know you understand.
- Your witness will have power because you believed even when your prayers weren’t answered.
- Your example will encourage others to endure till heaven.
Read Galatians 4:16-20. What do we do when someone needs to hear the truth? Do we dare risk offending or alienating him or her?
- We should speak the truth and not worry about offending or hurting others.
- We should talk about the person with others first and then decide who should speak to her or him.
- We should speak in the words of a loving parent, without being condescending.
- We don’t have the right to straighten anyone out; we should just keep quiet.
- We should pray for wisdom, seek God’s counsel, and speak the truth in love.
Applying the Message of Scripture
Gather in groups of two or three. Choose one of the following options and work on a solution. Then report back to your group when your facilitator says time is up.
- Option 1: Team up in pairs and role-play with your partner. One of you needs to talk to the other because you’re concerned about his or her walk with God. How will you go about this?
- Option 2: A small group of church members is a little too bossy. They’ve taken it upon themselves to point out everyone’s faults without sparing words. You’ve been nominated to talk to them. What will you say?
- Option 3: Your pastor comes to you out of concern. He or she feels that you may be slipping spiritually. How would you react? Would you be offended? Grateful? Explain.
Valuing Scripture in Your Life
- Have you, like Paul, gone through an illness that God can use for good? Ask God to show you how you can help others through your suffering. Write these ideas down so you can remember them; try to do one thing each day.
- Are you living as a good mentor, as Paul was? What kind of example are you setting in your home, church, or workplace? Study the life of Jesus and read how Paul loved the Galatians. Become a man or woman that reflects this kind of love.