“A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.”
Galatians 5:9, NIV

I am one of those people who must be careful about gaining weight. It can be a frustrating avocation. To maintain a healthy diet and exercise regiment, one must be conscious of one’s choices every waking moment. All that is required to break one’s diet, however, is a momentary lapse of discipline.

Living a life of obedience to the Lord Jesus is, I find, a similar phenomenon. If we are to live the life, which glorifies God, we must be ever attentive. Qualities such as selflessness, love, spiritual discipline, obedience, passion for ministry, evangelical boldness, humility, and devotion to the study of scripture and to prayer often require concentrated and sustained effort. Unfortunately, opposite qualities like selfishness, apathy, sloth, indulgence, cynicism, weakness, arrogance and a general neglect of spiritual things seem to require almost no effort whatsoever. Further complicating things is the fact that a relatively small amount of those latter qualities can and will corrupt all the other parts of our lives.

That is precisely the meaning of Paul’s doughy metaphor in Galatians 5:9. Speaking specifically to the issue of legalism, Paul warns that even a small amount of that odious heresy can pollute the gospel of grace. A lump of dough is leavened or unleavened. The amount of leaven matters not.

QUESTION: I encourage you today to make a careful examination of your life. Is there a pinch of leaven permeating the dough of your life? If there is, identify it and ask yourself one question: What can I do today to better preserve an unleavened life?