Galatians 4:11 NKJV I am afraid for you, lest I have labored for you in vain.
Principles are a precious. They guide us through uncertainty, charting the course that we will follow. Without them we are at the whim of the pressures of life as well as people. The Apostle Paul feared that the Galatians had forsaken the Christian principles he had taught them after hearing that many were replacing their pagan feasts and traditions with Jewish ones. They had previously followed dead rituals and now some were being convinced to leave the freedom in Christ to follow now dead practices in Judaism that have now been done away with through the fulfillment of the law by Christ Jesus.
We all have our principles tested and are pressured to bend or break them, how we respond matters. It’s important to note that there are preferences and principles. Preferences I can life without, principles I cannot. It’s also good to note that although I believe all of my principles would be great for everybody, not all of my principles are matters of Scripture so someone else might not agree or follow the same ones, but we all need some.
As a parent, I pray I never fear that my children have forsaken the principles I’ve worked so hard to impart to them. As a pastor, I know Paul’s pain having poured into people only to see them rationalize, and justify sinful behavior. In the political realm principles even affect how people vote, often choosing personal privileges and desires over the principles they profess. How do we avoid fearing that our children and loved ones will back off of the principles we cherish and long to pass on to them? We live them.
Paul wrote in verse 12, “Brethren, I urge you to become like me….” Paul not only told them how to live, but he provided an example and challenged them to live like him. Jesus, himself, is recorded 21 times challenging his disciples to “follow (Him)”. Principles will keep you from fearing and they also keep others from fearing too. Living them openly will help others do the same.
“I have principles and I am not going to be forced to compromise them.” – Alan Sugar
“Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour … If at my convenience I might break them, what would be their worth?” – Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
“A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
Elisabeth Elliot said, “Fear arises when we imagine that everything depends on us.”