Monday, 26 September 2011
Galatians 5:13-15: Freedom and an Arsenal of Love
Today’s post was written by Meredith Bowman. Thanks, Meredith!
I loved Rondi’s image of the newly released convicted felon still wearing his orange jumpsuit. Can’t you just see him standing outside the prison walls blinking in the sunlight? He’s got cash in one hand and new clothes in the other. Next to him is a cab pre-paid by the prison to take him anywhere he wants to go. What does he do now?
The answer to “what now?” for this freed prisoner is pretty straightforward. He needs to go get a job and start working again! Only this time he’s not working for the warden so he stays out of solitary confinement. Now he’s working to be a productive member of society.
A new line of work. The same question has been put to us. What are we going to do with this freedom we have learned about in Galatians? I think the answer is the same for us as well. We need to get back to work! Only this time we are not working to earn God’s love or His promise of salvation. We now know that we are working by His Spirit to bring Him glory.
And here’s the best part. We also know that despite our best efforts we will still sin and do it wrong! And when that happens, we need to remember that we are not thrown back in prison, but we are still free and will stay free because of Jesus.
So now that we’re free, what is the work we should be doing? Galatians 5:14 “The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.””
How do I love thee…A few years ago I realized I wasn’t loving people very well. So I decided to study “love” in the Bible to get some direction. One of the first verses I read was “Love your neighbor as yourself.” I was completely caught off guard by this verse. I expected to study outward ways to love someone. Instead, God turned my focus inward. “Love your neighbor… as yourself” Hmmm. How do I love myself? How do I want to be loved?
As I sat down to answer these two questions, I anticipated it taking a while to make my list. But as soon as I started thinking about myself and what I wanted, my mind was flooded with specific ways I expected to be loved. My pen couldn’t keep up with my mind as I furiously wrote everything down.
I think each one of us has to answer these questions for ourselves. I would encourage you to make a list of how you want to be loved by others, as well as ways you currently love yourself. When you’re done, I believe you’ll have an arsenal full of ways to love others.
I can see now why Paul says the entire law is summed up in this single command. He knows we already do a pretty good job of loving ourselves. Now we can take our new-found freedom and do the same for others.