Sunday, February 15, 2015

SSMT 2015 Verse 4: Galatians 5:13

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Today's the day to select the 4th verse for the Siesta Scripture Memory Verse Team.
The first three verses of the year  pretty well jumped out at me before I even got to posting day.

Today, though, I came to the computer with  nothin'.

So, I did one of my "I got nothin' " drills...I picked up my Bible and I began to read.

First, I felt drawn to Hebrews...but I did a study in Hebrews in the tail end of 2013 and several of those verses were written in that spiral.

Then I thought about a verse that had ministered to me early last fall, so I read Revelation 2 and 3.  It was a really good verse, but it wasn't really where I am at the moment.

I'm not even sure how I ended up in Galatians, but somehow I did.  And the verse I found myself pondering was 5:13, in Paul's discussion of not being bound up by the requirements of the Law:

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.

In the not-to-distant past, I read an advice column in the newspaper.  The columnist published two letters, both from folks who indicated they were pastors, in response to a previous letter from a lady with a question about a marital issue.  Both of those letters stated, in effect, that God wants us to be happy and she should not feel guilty if she left her husband. Now, she didn't indicate that there was any kind of abuse or infidelity...the implication was that marriage just wasn't living up to her expectations.

I was really, really grieved by the answers.  Not just because the marriage was being trivialized, but because the two representatives of the church of the living God basically said that God's greatest desire for His people is for them to be 'happy'... and the implication that 'happy' is dependent upon our circumstances, so we are justified in manipulating our circumstances to achieve 'happy'.

How does that concept line up with Galatians 5:13?  We are free of the obligation to the Law; we are not free of conforming to the nature of Christ.  God's highest ideal is not that we achieve personal happiness; His ideal is stated in Romans 8:29...that his people are conformed to the image of Jesus.  That's His idea of what is 'good' for us (see the previous verse...).  Not that we are happy, healthy, prosperous, favored...but that we are true representatives of Jesus.

Who left everything glorious behind and took on the nature of a servant.
Who did not consider what HE wanted at all...always, it was what the Father wanted.

The 'sinful nature' has connotations of immorality, pleasure seeking, excessive indulgence...and, yes, it is those things, but  really gross sin isn't the issue.  More basically the 'sinful nature' is just that part of ourselves that wants what we want when we want is the self-centered, what's-in-it-for-me inclination to put our opinions and our ideas above God's.

After all, that was what tripped up Eve...she decided she knew better than God.  And that's been the essence of the 'sin nature' ever since.

So, yes, we are free of the requirements of the Law.  Jesus fulfilled it.  But not so we could spend our energy and our resources on we could be a representation of Him to people who would never know Him otherwise.

And, yeah, this makes me say 'ouch' too...

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