Galatians 5:13 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.
Much of the Church needs a powerful reminder of this verse. We tend either to bind ourselves and each other with all sorts of rules, or we throw it all off and indulge our flesh. Sometimes we manage to do both at the same time! The whole letter to the Galatians is an effort to counteract the evils of legalism, but that doesn’t mean we are to indulge in our every fleshly whim. As the next verse points out, the law of love covers the whole gamut of human interaction. If we use one another (eros) we are certainly not expressing God’s love (agape). We are complicated beings, and often enough we don’t understand our own motives. However, the more we open ourselves up to the love of God and are obedient to Him because of our love for Him, the more His love is going to flow through us to those around us. It’s like I tell couples when I’m doing marriage counseling. Women being told they are to “submit to their husbands in everything” (Ephesians 5:24) may want to rebel, but men being told to “love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25) is much more strict! We tend to think of love as emotion, but Jesus said the greatest and second commandments were both to love, and that is a far cry from simple emotion. (Matthew 22:36-40) Genuine love is the perfect check on our fleshly impulses, and it teaches us the self-control we so often lack.
I was incredibly blessed to grow up in a household that exemplified Godly love in many ways. I have no question that watching my parents is what made me so eager to get married, and not just play around, at a young age. My Japanese friends are floored to find out I got married at 20, but it’s lasted over 50 years! However, marital love, as wonderful as it is, is just part of our life experience, and just one of the many expressions of love that we are called to give. I am still learning to serve others in love, but it is a blessed course of study! I seek to teach others this Law of Love, but we can be remarkably dense at times. I tell people that selfishness never leads to genuine happiness, but the devil tells them that self-indulgence equals happiness, and they believe him rather than me. I am to keep speaking the truth in love, demonstrating God’s love in all that I am, and let the Holy Spirit take it from there.
Father, thank You for Your incredible grace toward me. Help me be a good steward of that grace, allowing it to be expressed through me to all those around me, so that many may be rescued from the lies of the devil and brought into the freedom of Your Spirit, (2 Corinthians 3:17) for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!