LOVE One Another
The Beginning, Part 2
Galatians 5:7-15 (NKJV)
Leviticus 19:18, Mark 12:31, and Matthew 22:39 (NKJV)
Proverbs 11:18, 24, and 25; Proverbs14:14; Proverbs 21:13; and Luke 6:38 (NKJV)
This blog and having a website has been a dream of mine for a very long time. In order to get here, I worked a job I wasn’t very suited for and wasn’t crazy about for 20 years. Since blogging doesn’t pay I needed another source of income. Some twenty odd years ago I didn’t think that would mean social security. It turns out I also needed to go to Seminary. I also needed to learn Spiritual Direction (like a practicum) from an experienced Spiritual Director.
So finally I am doing a big part of what I want to do all those years ago. That still doesn’t make it easy.
I pray a lot.
Sometimes (well many times) when I pray, God tells me I am working too hard, aka trying too hard. From the past I know that means I need to rest when I pray so God can show me the way. God has the roadmap...I just need to relax, listen, and stop thinking so much in order to see it.
That’s the not easy part.
In a sense Paul was telling the churches in Galatia a similar thing. They were trying so hard to do everything “right” and they were working too hard. According to Paul what they needed to do is stop listening to others who are giving them a list of things to do.
They need to look to Jesus, sit with Jesus and wait.
In Galatians 5:7-10 Paul tells them God’s love fulfills the law, “You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is.”
Paul is telling them they have a good start but the infiltrators who came in telling them they need to DO more are making it so they cannot see the truth God has for them. Their vision is clouded. Paul tells them the words of the infiltrators are not OF God. The churches need to fix their eyes on Jesus and let His love (which He gives freely through the Spirit) provide everything they need.
The statement, “a little leaven leavens the whole lump” couldn’t be truer.
When my kids were young and we lived in a small town (where my husband was a pastor) money was really tight. With three boys to feed, I had to ‘get creative’ with food preparation. My Mom and Dad figured out what was going on and they made periodic visits to see the kids and to bring food staples to us. They had a minivan and they would pack it full of large bags of flour, yeast, sugar, powdered sugar, oil, real butter, canned vegetables, meat, large bags of potatoes, pasta, and even some boxes of cereal. They always included packages of chocolate chips and cinnamon.
I knew I needed to use what I had, so I learned to make bread, homemade cake and cookies, homemade pancakes with homemade syrup from sugar, pies, and either homemade cinnamon rolls or monkey bread.
As it turned out, the cinnamon rolls and monkey bread were a big deal. I made the dough from flour, oil, eggs, and yeast. I learned how to proof the yeast. If the yeast didn’t “leaven” properly the bread (and rolls) were a flop. The yeast was the big deal.
When the dough was complete I would roll it out flat, spread melted butter on top, sprinkle a generous amount of sugar over the butter, and sprinkle it with cinnamon. Then I would roll it into a tight long tube, cut the rolls, put them into a pan and let them rise. Rising the dough made the cinnamon rolls a light fluffy success. My kids now make cinnamon rolls for their kids but they say they don’t taste exactly the same. No...I expect not. I don’t think they are doing the recipe incorrectly, I think when they were young their tastebuds were superimposed.
A little yeast does the trick. I think the yeast for us is God’s love. A little goes a long way.
Paul then tells the churches in Galatia he “has confidence in them”. He believes they will turn to God and let the Spirit fill them with God’s love.
In Galatians 5:11-15 Paul tells them, “And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased. I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off! For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!
Paul revisits the issue of the day...circumcision, and reminds them it’s not necessary for their salvation. Receiving Christ by faith is all they need. They cannot save themselves. The (offense) or glory of the cross is all they need in order to be saved.
He reminds them yet again that they are called to a life of liberty IN God’s love. Paul quotes Old Testament scripture in Leviticus 19:18, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Those words were also quoted by Jesus in Mark 12:31 and Matthew 22:39.
Paul’s last admonition in this portion of scripture reminds them if they instead choose to bite and devour one another they will be consumed by hatred. We DO reap what we sow (Proverbs 11:18, 24, and 25; Proverbs 14:14; Proverbs 21:13; and Luke 6:38, just to name a few).
Paul really really wants the churches in Galatia to choose to sow seeds of love because when we sow love, it’s love we get.
The character of God IS love.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Sow Seeds of Love
Sow one seed of love today. That one will ‘leaven’ and grow. Exponentially.
In God, Deborah