Galatians 5:13-15 – “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, ” You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, take care lest you be consumed by one another.” NASB
This passage highlights a truth from God’s word that has been lost on too many in this world, believers, and non-believers. The grand finale of the message is in verse 15, “But if you bite and devour one another, take care lest you be consumed by one another.” What a message that is relevant for 2020 America. We are biting and devouring one another inside and outside the church and the result is damage and destruction for everyone and everything around us. In many ways, our world is in shambles.
I love the way the apostle begins in verse 13 as he speaks of Freedom. Freedom is a concept and a word that seems terribly misunderstood in today’s world and even in today’s church. We have been called to ‘freedom’. That is a declaration that stands alone, yet it is brought into context to an even larger truth, Love.
People on all sides of political, social issues, and even religious sides are screaming for justice when we should be crying out for mercy! We are demanding our liberty and freedom to do whatever we want, whenever we want, however, we want. In that, we have turned our freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, lust, greed, hate, and envy. Our freedom was given to us so that we could ‘serve’ one another and thereby help others who are bound to become free. It is a perpetuation and progression that can transform the world, resolve the social issues we face, and make the world a great place to live.
In the last half of verse 14, he hits it out of the park in truth as he identifies that the entire Law of God can be summed up and fulfilled in one statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” What a different world we would live in if everyone followed that directive and we truly valued other people as much as we value our own lives, property, freedoms, and liberties.
In verse 15, the apostle brings us face to face with an inescapable reality and warning that too many no longer heed even in the church. He warned, “But if you bite and devour one another, take care lest you be consumed by one another.” Did you hear what he said? He did not say consumed by the devil, but by ‘one another.’ The old comic strip saying of Pogo, “We have seen the enemy and it is us” is germane and relevant. The devil is not our worst enemy, we often are!
I am not diminishing the influence of the devil, sin, and evil but declaring that if we adopted the mindset to fulfill the first part of this directive and used our freedom to help others become free and served one another we would see a dramatic change in our world. If we truly loved our neighbors as ourselves, we would see a timely shift in interpersonal relationships.
Too frequently, we bite, devour, hate, and rail against each other insisting that they are the problem and we are pristinely innocent, and they must change. We create chasms impossible to span and engender bias, prejudice, and hate that destroys and eats away like cancer on the fabric of society.
Beloved, it is time that we stop believing the lies of the enemy and realize that people are not our enemy, evil is! We need to realize that we have been redeemed and given freedom so that we can serve, reach others, and help them be free! It is time that we completely surrender our hearts, minds, souls, bodies, and lives to God! When we do, He will fulfill His promises and we will see the Victory of Jesus and the Love of God shine in the hearts of those we now consider our enemy.
God bless you as you allow the Holy Spirit to change your mind!