There was a great controversy in the Christian congregation at Galatia about who was “in” and who was “out.” (This should sound eerily similar to, well, just about every other period in Christian history.) Some members of the church wanted to require circumcision (become Jewish first) before admission into the Christian community. This is not some quaint theological puzzle – this is really important for dudes.
Listen to what Paul says in Galatians 4:19-20 – “My little children, for whom I am again in the pain of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, I wish I were present with you now and could change my tone, for I am perplexed about you.”
In the midst of this controversy and ecclesiastical turmoil, Paul is calling the church to recognize that Christ is being formed within them. Just as a child in the womb grows and matures and is finally strong enough to leave the mother’s body, Christ is being formed in us. Paul uses these images intentionally, not accidentally. Childbirth is painful – growing up is not easy.
Do not be afraid to use these very earthy images to describe your spiritual life. Just because something may be “gross” or “bodily” doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s bad. Therefore, I ask the question: are you pregnant with Jesus?