Who or What Derails Your Efforts?

The author of the letter to the Galatians (attributed to St. Paul) has some harsh words for those who have gotten in the way of those he addresses in the letter in their pursuit of obeying the truth.

Verse 12 would make a pretty nasty tweet in our day, wouldn’t it?

Who or what derails your efforts in seeking the truth of God’s love and forgiveness? Is it doubt? Is it troubles that arise that just don’t seem fair? Is it the friend or family member who mocks you for trying to run the race well? What might it be?

And while you might want to fire off a “verse 12” text or email their way, will that solve the problem?

How much of that is our doing, or undoing?

I know that sometimes I need to be reminded again of who I am and whose I am.

I stood before the congregation for a meet and greet session – this was some 25 years ago. With those gathered, I had an opportunity to share some about my family, my upbringing, my education, my wife and children, and some of the things I had done in my ministry to date.

About 40 minutes into the event, a woman of the congregation raised her hand to ask a question. She said, “Do you believe Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior?”

I wanted to answer, “What does it look like? Why else would I be here? Why else would I give up weekends with family to be in church every Sunday by 7 a.m.? Haven’t you been listening?”

Galatians 5:7-12


You were running well; who prevented you from obeying the truth? Such persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. A little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough. 10 I am confident about you in the Lord that you will not think otherwise. But whoever it is that is confusing you will pay the penalty. 11 But my friends, why am I still being persecuted if I am still preaching circumcision? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. 12 I wish those who unsettle you would castrate themselves!

But I realized I was the one doing the confusing. I had totally missed the point and ignored the truth that needed to be shared. This woman was helping me get back on track, centered and focused. What she asked should not have needed to be asked. It should have been the first words out of my mouth.

I swallowed my pride, and humbly responded, “Yes, I DO believe Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. And that is why I do what I do. That is why I am here.”

I invite you to take a break from running in your faith journey. Stop. Consider where you are. Have you gotten off track?

Before we blame someone else and send a “verse 12” stink bomb, let’s start by looking in the mirror first.

Remember who you are. Remember whose you are.


Let us pray:

Almighty God, give me the courage to pause and ponder where I am today. Give me ears to hear and a heart to believe your Good News of Great Joy – I belong to you, and you love me. For you are the one who saves me. You are my Lord and my God. Get me back on track. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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