A couple of weeks ago in assembly, I shared with the students from Galatians about a constant danger we face.Because through grace we have been freed from the struggle to earn God’s favor, or as Paul puts it, because we are “called to freedom” (5:13a), we are in danger of taking advantage of this and simply doing whatever we want. Paul even says, “Don’t turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh” (5:13b). It seems that we humans are always tending towards taking a good thing and twisting it.
To this danger, Paul offers a corrective: “Through love, serve one another” (5:13c). He even says that if you are worried about the law and trying to please God by keeping the law, “The Law is fulfilled in ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (5:14). Loving others through serving gets our minds off of ourselves, but how do we love others like we love ourselves? I have noticed that I don’t always like what if do, but I usually cut myself some slack; that is, I give myself second chances. I think this explains the responsibility that Paul lays on us: “If someone is caught in a sin…restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself lest you too be tempted” (6:1). When we are out to bash others instead of restore them, we are not fulfilling the law of Christ: “Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ. For it anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself” (6:2). This verse is rather haunting because this suggest that when we aren’t about the business of restoration, we truly are deceived.
I’ll bet there is someone in your life right now who needs restoration. Put your freedom into action and love them back into the fold. To do less is to deceive yourself.
Not reading announcements leads to self-deception as well: “If anyone thinks he knows what is going on but doesn’t read announcements, he deceives himself”…