“But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?” – Galatians 4:9, ESV
Clinging to the truths of the gospel and living out our faith is a challenge. We are constantly bombarded with the things the world says we should live for. The enemy heaps up lie upon lie about what is important and what we need to chase after. The things of the world directly oppose God.
Paul called the things of the world weak and worthless. Just as the Gentiles were being enticed to turn back to the “weak and worthless elementary principles of the world,” we can also fall into being enticed by those things. Paul reminded them in Galatians 4:1-4 that they had been set free from those things; they were no longer in slavery to them. The same is true for us.
We must consider what the weak and worthless things of the world consist of. We must examine ourselves to know what things of this world entice us and have the ability to enslave us if we don’t turn away from them.
The world tells us we have to fit into a certain role and perform a certain way. There is so much pressure to be the perfect parent or the perfect spouse. We can’t even be honest about the hard days. Social media adds to this pressure by telling us we have to have Insta-worthy or Facebook-happy lives. Or maybe it’s the world’s love for money and material things that entice us. We’re taught to go after the best-paying jobs so that we can have the fanciest cars and the biggest houses. Then we fill those houses with stuff until we run out of room and need to rent storage spaces to hold it all. We’re told our families have to be perfect. Every moment of our kids’ schedules needs to be filled so that they can become the next greatest sports star or dance star or musician. We can’t even take a vacation without the world’s standards telling us what it has to look like.
Look again at what Paul says about all of this. The things of the world are weak and worthless. They are weak because they have no power when it comes to eternity. There is no strength in them. They are worthless, with no eternal value. That’s why we have to guard against them. Instead of having the world’s view of our money and things and families, we ought to have God’s view. Instead of turning back to the weak and worthless things of the world, and holding ourselves to standards that quickly fade away, we are to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. We are to value what He says is of value and do what He says we are to do with our money, our things, and our families.
When we keep our eyes on God, we will not be enticed by the weak and worthless things of this world.