Google+ 06/05/13 Delight or Destruction!

Galatians 5:13-15

 

For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters.

But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature.

Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.

For the whole law can be summed up in this one command:

“Love your neighbor as yourself.”

But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out!

Beware of destroying one another.

 

As Christians, we often repeat things that are said in Scripture, but fail to really digest the intent of God and the author.  Today’s Scripture lesson is a perfect example of this.  I would not want to guess how many times all of us have repeated Jesus’s words, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  It rolls right off our tongues, as many of us have been repeating it since we were children.  What we forget is what happens when we don’t act out this Scripture, that we are so intent on repeating.  What does it really mean to love your neighbor as yourself?  This Christian trait is more complicated than it looks.  First, you need to understand what it means to love yourself.  This is not the worldly love that is preached to us daily that eventually ends in conceit.  It is not a selfish love.  The word used in the Bible for this kind of love is “agape” love.  We are to love ourselves and our neighbors unconditionally.  All of us have at least one thing we can point to that we don’t like about ourselves.  Remember, the Scripture warns us that we are all unworthy of the Glory of God.  That’s why God’s grace is so important.  We need to love ourselves like Christ loves us.  We need to repent for our sins and flaws, but move past them so we can love.  We need to appreciate the person God has created.  Once we have accomplished this task, then we can love others.  I have often told people that they will never get me to love them unconditionally until they accept themselves the same way!  This kind of love is the “way out” for many of the physical and mental ailments that we contract as we walk through our daily life.  Once we appreciate and love the person God has created in us, we can love others the same way.  No more anger, jealousy, and envy.  No need to covet someone else’s gifts or talents.  Like all Scripture, there is always a positive precept and a critical caution.  Loving one another is a wonderful thought and creates delightful feelings in all of God’s people.  That’s why He told us to do it!!!  The converse is also true.  Paul tells us today that if we are always biting and devouring each other, we will destroy each other.  The human race is not supposed to be “survival of the fittest.”  I believe we have already done enough damage in this area.  I am so thankful for the “Family of God” that we have built together.  We do love each other.  We all struggle because we all fall short of the Glory of God, but we struggle together.  Your “Family of God” can and should do the same.  The choice is ours, Delight or Destruction!