Session 8

Don’t be a rule follower

From Galatians: An 11-Day Devotional

God promised to give Abraham a son. The only problem was Abraham and his wife Sarah were out of their “childbearing years.” Eventually, Sarah grew tired of the waiting game and took matters into her own hands. Sarah gave her maidservant, Hagar, to her husband in hopes of having a family through another woman’s womb. Hagar gave birth to a son, Ishmael. Eventually, God gave Sarah and Abraham the child He promised they would have together, Isaac (Genesis 16, Genesis 18, and Genesis 21).

The birth of Sarah’s son, Isaac, represented a promise from God. Hagar’s son, Ishmael, represented their human effort. In his letter to the church in Galatia, Paul reminds the church of this story because he knew they were being persuaded to please God through their own work: eating the right foods, saying the right words, doing the right things. In reality, the church’s relationship with God was based on the promise God made through His son, Jesus. If they could place their faith fully in Jesus, there would be no need for their man-made customs.

Much like the church in Galatia, we face a similar pressure to keep up appearances and rules that aren’t part of God’s promise to us: act this way, do this good deed, say this certain word.

In Jesus, we are children of God’s promise (Galatians 4:28).

In Jesus, we are children of God’s promise (Galatians 4:28). Because we live our lives in light of God’s promise, we don’t have to ascribe to a list of rules and regulations. We can live knowing we please God because we believe His promise and follow His son, Jesus.


  • Are you trying to please God any other way than following Jesus?
  • Is the pressure of keeping any man-made custom keeping you from experiencing God’s promise?

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