Laboring for the Gospel (Galatians 4:19) - Radical

Laboring for the Gospel (Galatians 4:19)

“My little children for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.”
-Galatians 4:19

Then that sentence ends with an exclamation point. I want you to think about that language. What a phrase. Paul is speaking to these Christians among the churches in Galatia, and he says, “I am in the anguish of childbirth.” I am in the anguish of childbirth, that’s the imagery he uses. I am laboring, and giving everything I have and am, working really hard.

Laboring in Love

I can think of all kinds of descriptions that would go with the anguish of childbirth, and not that I have personally experienced that, I have observed that, and seen hard work, loving work, labor to see this child come to life, to see this child come into the world. Paul says, “That’s the way I feel when I look at you. I am laboring in love. I’m working as hard as I can to see Christ formed in you.” What a beautiful picture, to see you grow into the image of Christ, to look like Jesus, and think like Jesus, and desire what Jesus desires, and love like Jesus loves. “I am working really hard to help you experience the fullness of life in Jesus.”

Galatians 4:19 Reminds Us to Labor for the Gospel

Let me ask the question then, who are you laboring like that for right now? Maybe the people come to your mind include your family, maybe it’s a spouse or children, that you’re laboring to see, experience the fullness of life in Jesus. What about beyond your home though? Are there friends you’re laboring like that for? The people you work with? Other people in your family? People in your neighborhood? What would it look like for you to be spending your life laboring to see other people experience the fullness of life in Jesus? This is the Christian life. This is what it means in essence, to make disciples.

I want to encourage you to seriously consider as we pray how this kind of perspective would change the way you and I live, if we got up in the morning and we said, “I want to labor today to see the people around me and even new people I meet experience the fullness of life in Jesus. And I want to work hard. I want to give myself to loving, hard work toward that end.”

Galatians 4:19 Leads Us to Pray

God, may it be so in us. We pray that you would give us each the heart of Paul here in Galatians 4:19. Help us to labor in anguish, to work hard lovingly, with compassion and dedication, and devotion to help others experience the fullness of life in Jesus. I pray for that when it comes to people in our homes, people in our families, help us to work hard to help them experience the fullness of life in Jesus. God, beyond our homes, help us to live for this among our friends and coworkers, neighbors. Help us to work so that they might experience the life that’s found in you, Jesus.

Help us to teach your word, share the gospel, be an example. Do all that you call us to do. God, may it be so today. May people look more like Jesus as the result of our lives today, and then tomorrow, and the next day. May that be the fruit of our lives. Christ-formed, and more and more people, in more and more ways, on an everyday basis. God, may it be so according to your word in Galatians 4:19. We pray this in Jesus’s name. Amen.

David Platt

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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