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Friday-Cut in Line

 

You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you.

 

Galatians 5:7,8

 

There are many things that you can do if you want to make people look down at you. But there is one thing that, if you do this, people will think that you’re a total waste of life. This one, universal action, will motivate everyone to action, posting nothing but negative pictures and text about you.

 

And what could be this one thing that everyone, and I mean everyone, hates? This one action is guaranteed to make the whole world look down at you for breaking this universal rule.

 

You think I’m overreacting? Just watch what happens when someone cuts in line. Or butts in line. Whatever you call it, no one will want to be your friend or do you a favor. You’ll be treated by even your friends as someone with social leprosy.

 

People that butt in line don’t have to say anything about what they think. They don’t have to; their actions scream that they are more important than anyone else. Everyone else.

 

While butting in front of people at DisneyWorld[1]is a bad thing, doing it in a race is even worse. I remember cringing when it happened in Chariots of Fire[2] and Eric Liddell went flying into the infield. This made us cheer all the more when he got up and ran like a madman, collapsing in victory at the end.

 

But cutting off in a NASCAR race[3] can be even more tragic. Cars can roll and fly when the actions of a single person cuts off other cars. Vehicles can become instantly engulfed in flames, trapping drivers while families and friends look on in desperation.

 

That’s exactly what these people were doing to the Galatian church. They came from the outside and were “butting in” on the local Christian community. By cutting in, they were demonstrating that they were better, more spiritual, closer to God then the Galatians.

 

The believers in Galatia were running their race and doing it well. They were consistently making progress. But when these outsiders got in the way and butt front of them. This really slowed down the progress and growth of the Galtian Christians.

 

When these outsiders butt in front of the Galatians, they not only got the way, but also distracted them. They had been pressing on, living with their eyes fixed on their goal[4]. They had been running a good race. A smart race.

 

And how do you run a good race? A smart race? It’s not by depending on yourself. The race of life isn’t won when you just try with all your might. No, you need to depend on someone else.

 

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

 

Hebrews 12:1b,2a

 

We need to run away from anything and everything that says that it’s all about us. Our goodness. Our efforts. Our strength. Our determination. It’s a poison that can only hurt us.

 

Doing it all on our own was hard to ignore back then in first century Greece. But it’s harder to ignore now. The $10+ billion self-help industry is ready, willing, and able to sell you videos, apps, seminars, and a whole bunch of other things that have only one thing in mind. To deceive you.

 

There is no set of rules, laws, regulations, or restrictions that can move us closer to the people that God made us to be. Period. While there are all sorts of different approaches, they all have the one major weakness that guarantees failure.

 

Us. You. Me. In the words of Pogo, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” We’re the weak link in the chain. Actually, we’re more than weak. We’re broken. Completely without any strength to hold on by ourselves.

 

To me, this shows the love of God more than anything else. All he had to do was nothing and we’d completely destroy ourselves. We’d collapse under the weight of our own evil.

 

But God stepped in. He didn’t just let us drown in a sea of our own filth. No, he jumped into this life, but it didn’t dirty him. He came as both fully God and fully man. This let him fully experience this life but without sin[5]

 

When it came to sin and the price we couldn’t pay, he personally cut in line and took all the punishment we deserved. He stepped in front of the punishment we deserved and took it for us and nailed it to the cross[6].

 

When he cut into that line, he didn’t benefit from it. Just the opposite. He took it for us so that we could benefit from it. Now, that’s someone cutting in line that we can applaud.


[4] Philippians 3:14

[5] Hebrews 4:15

[6] Colossians 2:14

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