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Warning: The Following May Make You Mad…
…If it Also Makes You Think and Go to the Lord, I’m OK With That!
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” (Galatians 5:13)
I’ve been struggling lately with what it means to “indulge the flesh.” For me, I’m pretty sure it means I’m not supposed to just freely eat any and as much of whatever I desire and whenever I desire it. Or to freely watch anything I want on tv or in movies – and usually that means of an “R” rated nature. True confessions…
But what does it mean for me not to use my “freedom” to indulge in those things—but instead to serve others humbly and in love? Still working on that one and sense it’ll be a lifelong project.
But wait! There’s more…
“Everything is permissible for me” – but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me – but I will not be mastered by anything.” (1 Corinthians 6:12)
Paul is warning that although free to do some things, one could become enslaved by those actions in which he “freely” indulges. Yikes.
Oh, and look, four chapters later, Paul repeats himself! Must be important!
“Everything is permissible” – but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.” I Cor. 10:23-24
I like what my NIV notes say: “Personal freedom and desire for one’s rights are not the only considerations. One must also consider the good of others.”
Last time I checked: WE HAVE NO RIGHTS as Christians. None. Zero. Ouch.
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause one another to stumble...For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.”
You may have noticed I’ve highlighted certain parts of the above. Here we go…
I’m burdened by the many conversations I get into or hear about with staff regarding their “right” to drink alcohol (yep – I’m going there!). It seems that something has changed in our culture today that says you’re a “relevant” Christian if you drink – responsibly, of course. (I get confused who defines responsibly but that’s not my point for now). This is a hot topic with many opinions and convictions and a part of me wants to scream, “REALLY? THIS is what we’re going to argue about and fight for?”
But instead, I just want to end by reminding you and reminding myself that as staff, we are responsible as spiritual leaders for how we live out our freedoms. Not new news, hopefully a good reminder.
And I’ll let the apostle Paul wrap it up best with his admonition to “serve one another humbly in love…Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.”