Law or Love

  1. Message:  In Galatians 5 Paul continued addressing the fact that the church wasbeing influenced by Jews who wanted them to follow the law as part of their salvation and to be circumcised. Paul was urging them not to “pick up the yoke of slavery again”. He spoke about the importance of their freedom, but cautioned them not to use it to fulfil the desires of the flesh. Instead, our freedom is supposed to be used to serve one another in love. He reminded them (and us) that the entire law is fulfilled by one thing- “love your neighbor as yourself”. This is where the gospel is so different from the previous way. While our relationship with Jesus is still very vertical and very personal, we also carry a responsibility to love and care for those around us. Jesus called these people our neighbors and established who our neighbor is when he taught the good Samaritan story. Our neighbor is anyone we encounter and we are required by love to care for them as we would our own selves. This often gets entangled with enabling because often times we don’t love ourselves well either. Not the kind of self love where we pursue “me time” and some of the “self-care” indulgences. I’m talking about doing the right thing for ourselves for our own good. If we don’t understand that line with ourselves, we will struggle to please people rather than to help them. We read about what love is (and is not) in 1 Corinthians 13 and if we apply that kind of love to the people around us we are fulfilling the gospel. My challenge to myself in this is to think about the selfish attitudes I claim as my rights and ask myself how I can use those opportunities to lay down my rights to love people well.

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