As I listened to the piano tuner work on the elegant grand piano, I thought about the times when I’d heard that very same piano pour out the incredible sound of the “Warsaw Concerto” and the rich melody of “How Great Thou Art.” But now the instrument desperately needed to be tuned. While some notes were right on pitch, others were sharp or flat, creating an unpleasant sound. The piano tuner’s responsibility wasn’t to make each of the keys play the same sound but to assure that each note’s unique sound combined with others to create a pleasing harmonious whole.
Even within the church, we can observe notes of discord. People with unique ambitions or talents can create a jarring dissonance when they’re joined together. In Galatians 5, Paul pleaded with believers to do away with “discord, jealousy, fits of rage, [and] selfish ambition,” which would destroy fellowship with God or relationships with others. Paul went on to encourage us to embrace the fruit of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (vv. 20, 22–23).
When we live by the Spirit, we’ll find it easier to avoid unnecessary conflict on nonessential matters. Our shared sense of purpose can be greater than our differences. And with God’s help, each of us can grow in grace and unity as we keep our hearts in tune with Him.
Gracious God, teach me how to “get in tune” with the Spirit’s leading and live in harmony with others.
Paul’s letter to the Galatian church is one of his most strident and forceful. Why? Having responded to the message of the good news of Jesus, the people were now being steered away from God’s grace by Judaizers—those who were trying to enforce Jewish religious law upon the new believers in Jesus. Paul’s primary concern for them is expressed in the letter’s opening chapter where he wrote, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ” (Galatians 1:6–7). Sometimes called Paul’s “angry letter,” the letter to the Galatians is actually a passionate expression of his concern for the spiritual welfare of his friends there.
To learn more about the book of Galatians, visit bit.ly/2J08Jzx.