2011-06-24 - Warnings from the Animals
The second is tigers - paper tigers actually. For those who have not heard the term, a paper tiger is defined in Webster's as "one that is outwardly powerful or dangerous but inwardly weak or ineffectual" This term is also found in a relatively new translation called The Message.
Galatians 4:8-11 (MSG)
Here the false gods and rules and regulations we force on ourselves are said to be "paper tigers". We are warned away from them as well. False idols can do nothing for us and legalism can and will steal our joy and cripple our ministry. The paper tiger is a warning against false idols and legalism.
Idols can't do anything. They are said to have brains of wood and stone and verse 8 says those that trust in idols are just like them. Now we may not have little Buddha's in our homes but maybe we have other kinds of idols. As Dwight L Moody once said, "you don't have to go to heathen lands today to find false gods. America is full of them. Whatever you love more than God is your idol." Some of us even make God in our own image or at least into the image we want him to be. We think God is only pleased if we dress a certain way, sing two songs, pray, take up an offering, sing 2 more, say another prayer, read from a version of the Bible, listen to a sermon, sing another song and say a final prayer. We think God can only use this or that. We fashion for ourselves a god of rules, regulations, and our own traditions. That's not God that's just another worthless idol known as legalism. Jesus made several mentions of those who went worshipped that god.
Jesus said those that worshipped the gods of legalism are hollow empty shells, nice looking on the outside but no substance, no meat. You know what irks me. I hate going to one of those steakhouses that serve peanuts, getting me a nut, cracking it open and finding some shriveled up black raisin looking nut inside. That's exactly how God must feel about legalism.
God came to earth as a man to set us free. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 3:17, "Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty." I believe there's a flip side to that verse. But where the spirit of legalism is there is only bondage. The tiger should remind us to avoid the trappings of idolatry and legalism.
Until next time...
All scripture references from KJV unless otherwise noted