Saturday, August 18, 2012

Galatians 5:13-15

Summary retelling of Galatians 5:13-15

Paul reaffirms the Galatians that God’s desire is for them to be in freedom.  However, he warns them to not use the freedom for the flesh.  Rather, we should focus on serving one another.  After all, when we love one another we are putting the Law into practice.  However, if we attack and bite at one another, we consume ourselves.

Thoughts for Today
First Thought:
God desires us to be in freedom, but He does not want us to use our freedom to accomplish what we want.  Essentially, we shouldn’t justify intentional sin by saying that we know that God will forgive us anyway.  However, we shouldn’t be afraid of trying new things and following God as He “does a new thing” among us.  We are free to follow God and follow Christ.  But we are not free to do as we please.

Do you see yourself as being “free?”  Do you think the typical American congregation emphasizes our freedom more or do they emphasize a bondage to “man’s priorities” more?  How can you practice being “free to follow God” without taking it too far so that you fell “free to sin?”

Second Thought:
Paul also spends a pretty good deal of time focusing on serving one another.  Paul says that when we serve one another we fulfill the Law.  The easiest way of thinking about this is through the concept of the self-monger.  The Law was given to us to help us stop being the self-monger.  The Law was given to us to help us realize just how sinful we are and how much we need to rely on God and not ourselves.  When we serve one another, we are putting the needs and priorities of other people ahead of ourselves.  In other words, when we serve one another we are practicing the opposite of being the self-monger.  Thus, when we serve one another we fulfill the Law because our service to another demonstrates our need to put the self-monger behind and lift up the agenda of God instead.

How neat is it to think of service as the fulfillment of the Law?  How neat is it to think of our service as actually fulfilling the Law?

Third Thought:
Paul then talks about the opposite of serving one another: attacking one another.  He says that when we attack each other we bite each other.  If we bite each other, we end up devouring one another.  We are consumed in the constant barrage of attacks.  Our spirituality is lost amidst the assaults we launch upon one another.

Have you ever been a part of a group that refused to do anything except fight amongst themselves?  How did that experience feel like you were being devoured?  How difficult was it to maintain your spiritual perspective in the midst of that experience?

Passage for Tomorrow: Galatians 5:16-18
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