“Oh, my dear children! I feel as if I’m going through labor pains for you again, and they will continue until Christ is fully developed in your lives.” Galatians 4:19 (NLT)
The goal of every good parent is to see their children grow up into healthy, mature adults. Years of prayer, training and nurturing are part of the process. When Paul was writing to the Christ followers in the region of Galatia, he knew they were struggling in their spiritual growth. As he writes this letter to them, he expresses the goal that God has for their lives – for Christ to be fully developed in them. The Amplified Bible translates his concern like this:
“My little children, for whom I am again suffering birth pangs until Christ is completely and permanently formed (molded) within you.”
Another translation puts it this way, “… until Christ may be seen living in you.” (CEV)
Can Christ be seen living in you? It’s easy to “put on Christ” at church on Sunday. What about Monday at work or school or home? In the mundane duties of life, can Christ be seen living in you? One of my favorite Bible teachers used to say that for Christ to be fully developed in me is not the consequence of my capacity to imitate Christ – but the consequence of His capacity to reproduce His life in me! That’s exactly the point Paul was making to these Galatians. They would never achieve that measure of maturity in their own strength by following rules and regulations. Christ would develop their characters and shape their lives from the inside out through His indwelling presence. Their task, as is ours today, is to remain rightly related to Him. As we do, we will grow in the grace of God until we become men and women of mature character reflecting the very life of Christ.