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Out of Control

Out of Control

Words of Faith 6-19-19

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2019

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Galatians 5

[13] 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.   [14] The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." [15] If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.


      One of the most important principles related to freedom is the limitation of freedom.  Freedom is not a state of being out of control. Of course, in the grace of the Lord Jesus, you were called to be free!  But your freedom cannot be a license to let the sinful nature run rampant.  We are free, but we must not indulge our flesh as an expression of freedom.  Freedom is being under the control of the Spirit of God-- able to love in ways we never imagined.

       Now.  It is most interesting that when Paul talked here about not indulging the sinful nature, he did not speak about carnal sexual desires that were rampant in the ancient Roman world.  Instead, the very first application Paul made was to personal relationships in Body of Christ.  You are to be servants of one another.  Why?  Because everything in the Law boils down to a single command-- Love your neighbor as yourself.  If you continue tearing at each other verbally, you will destroy one another.

        It is interesting that Paul identified the number one threat to the Galatian churches NOT as any external attack or even the pagan stuff, but rather as the threat of the believer's tongue within the Body itself! 

        The one thing that can surely destroy you is a loss of love for one another and the fleshly practice of harsh criticism and gossip.  We tend to think that the most destructive pitfalls are out there in the world, but the truth is that if we do not learn to love one another, we will surely destroy one another.  The Enemy will not need to bother with us one wit.  We will have done the task for him.

       We don't know precisely what Paul was talking about here. We do know that the legalizers-- Jewish believers who tried to control the newest Gentile believers-- had fostered harsh criticism against Paul among the churches.  Certainly, this was part of the problem, but his biggest concern was the way that believers were treating one another.  The Greek verbs are not subtle.  The sort of gossip, criticism, and verbal conflict that was going on was biting and tearing the Body of Christ apart.  It would surely devour them.

       Any believer in any age can certainly learn from this.  Fostering an environment of criticism and gossip is contrary to the most fundamental truths of Christian fellowship-- they will know we are Christians by our love.  Verbal attacks aimed at getting one's way serve only to tear apart the Body of Christ and destroy people, foremost oneself.  Giving ear to gossip only encourages it.

        John wrote in his first letter, "If anyone says, 'I love God,' yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen" (4:20).  The accurate measure of our walk with God is not in our words of praise toward God but in our actions toward one another.

        A good question to ask is this: How do I really regard those around me in the Body of Christ?  Do I view them as someone to work around?  Are my fellow believers an obstacle to defeat?  Do I see them as someone who opposes my control of things?  Do I view them a commodity to be used in some way?  Or are they a convenient topic for casual conversation or gossip?  None of this is of Christ.

        When we look at any person, we should always see someone Jesus died for, whether they are saved yet or not.  And whether we agree with them or not, we should view a believer as being so valuable that God paid the price of His Son for them.  When we look at the Body of Christ, we should see a fellow believer that we are connected to-- and realize that we cause ourselves pain when we hurt that person in the same way we would if we deliberately cut off our own toe.

       We should realize that a person who is different or holds a different view is still the object of God's great mercy and grace.  We should recognize that we cannot tear at that person without hurting the heart of God and hurting ourselves.

       Freedom is not a license to hurt other people.  If we say, "That is just the way I am.  I am blunt and ugly to people.  You should just know that."  This is another way of saying-- "I am not a person surrendered to the Spirit of God and His way.  I do not regard people in the way that God does.  My flesh is selfishly out of control." 

       Freedom is not "out of control.”  Freedom is a life controlled by the Spirit of God. 


     Father God, give me the joy of true freedom in You.  Make me free to love those around me as You love them.  Give me freedom in Christ to serve those in the Body even if I disagree with them.  Give me the freedom to love in ways that are impossible for my flesh.  In Jesus' Name


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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, and our website, and our church app, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.  

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