To listen to the sermon go to Serve One Another
Our passage is a passage in the midst of talking about freedom. In one sense, freedom seems to carry the idea that you can do anything free of any and all restraints, but as we analyze that idea of freedom, we begin to realize that has its own pitfalls and ensnarements. People assume they are free when they get rid of authoritarian restraints such as parents, religion, school authorities, etc.
However, as we see in our passage, this kind of freedom does not free us at all from the need for identity, acceptance, love, and security, which we continually get by using others for that. Subsequently, we even serve with poor motives. We make “Service” into what I can get out of it, rather than serving others out of love, and the joy of service.
Many people may object to this, and say that serving like this is impossible. While that may be true, Paul roots this kind of freedom (Freedom to serve others without expectations in return), in the power of the Spirit that comes through Faith and works its way out to love (See Galatians 5:5, 6, 13). He goes on to say that we can do this as we “Walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16). But what does that mean? Within the context, it means that as we trust (Have Faith) in God and His promises (Because He has proven trustworthy with His actions in Christ), we can avoid “Walking in the flesh,” or trusting ourselves to manipulate and control all of our circumstances. Thus we are free to serve others, freely, rather than “Bite and devour one another.”
He anchors this all in Love (Galatians 5:14 cf. Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 22:37-39). Paul is arguing in the midst of a Jewish legalism demanding that the Galatian Christians need to keep the law. His argument is that the law is summed up with loving God and others, and not trying to keep the law in order to be justified before God.
When we take on an attitude of service and love rather than back biting and judging one another’s actions, we begin to look like Christ’s deisciples.
Now for some, serving comes very natural, and this command is no big deal, but for others it may be harder to accomplish. But one thing to keep in mind here is that many who have no problem serving, struggle mightily with allowing others to serve them. The reason is pride and the desire to control. So walking in the flesh, is not just aimed at those that struggle to serve, but to those who are serving out of unclean motivation.
When the church is healthy, we will see us all serving “One Another” and not just a few serving some.
Christ is once again our prime example of coming to serve others, and He did so out of a pure heart and a desire to glorify His Father. I pray we can all do the same!