Updated: Jun 21, 2021
STEP 1 - Read Galatians 5:13-26
(13) 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.
(14) For the entire law is fulfilled
in keeping this one command:
(15) If you
bite and devour each other,
watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
(16) So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. (17) For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. (18) But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
(19) The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; (20) idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions (21) and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
(22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23) gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (24) Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (25) Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (26) Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
STEP 2 - Reflect
Yesterday you were reminded that your core identity is being a person who has been called to be free, but yet you still have an obligation to fulfill God’s law. Thankfully the Bible doesn’t pile a bunch of impossible rules on top of you in order to fulfill the law (the opposite of freedom). Rather, as someone called to be free you can fulfill God’s law by “loving your neighbor as yourself.”
It’s not that hard to list out a bunch of ways to love your neighbor (you’ll have lots of opportunities to do this on the trip), but what often gets missed is the second half of that phrase. You need to have a healthy love for yourself. If you hate (or even just dislike) yourself, you’ll never be able to truly fulfill the obligation you have to love your neighbor.
Remember, you’re different from the world. Worldly people love themselves by making themselves the center of everything. They become cocky and conceited, which is the opposite of what the last verse of this passage says to do!
Their cockiness causes them to lash out at those who threaten their fragile egos; Paul compares this behavior to wild animals who “bite and devour each other.” Ultimately, people’s desire to love themselves causes them to destroy both themselves and those around them.
We train firefighters and other rescuers to think of themselves as the most important people at an emergency scene, even more important than the victims. We don’t do this to inflate their egos, but because they’ve been called to rescue somebody in danger, and if they get hurt or compromised, they can’t save anybody and the victim will be in even more danger.
It’s important for you to love yourself - not because you’re so much more awesome than anybody else - but because you realize how much Jesus paid in order to be able to call you to be free. This is the sort of humble self-love that will enable you to truly love your neighbor.
STEP 3 - Respond
STEP 4 - Reach up in prayer
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, God of justice whose law must be fulfilled
ALIGN YOURSELF WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you can love both your neighbor and yourself the way you ought
ASK FOR WHAT YOU NEED: for what you need today