For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
(Galatians 5:13, NASB)
If the recent U.S. presidential election has shown me anything, it is how broken humanity is. I saw statements being made on social media that made me cringe. I shuddered as negative, condescending comments were slung haphazardly across the internet. Would we dare to speak those words if we were face to face? Maybe. Maybe not.
Being able to voice our opinions while also respecting others seems to be quite the balancing act. We have teetered and tottered, and often crashed wildly into one another. You see, we are free to have our opinions. Certainly, we are free to believe passionately and strongly on issues. We are free to use our social media accounts as we choose.
We are free, yet we live as though we are chained.
In Galatians, Paul speaks of our freedom. His warnings then are valid now.
For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things you please. (Galatians 5:17, NASB)
How do we know if we are being led by the flesh?
Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21, NASB, bold added)
If I were to take the pulse of the current American culture, I would say we are living in the flesh. It has been painful to witness and hard to endure. I have watched friends rise up against one another.
Differing opinions. How foolish are we?
If I turned my back on every friend who has disagreed with me, I would be left alone. Their disagreements have caused me to step back and evaluate my own beliefs. Because I have friends who disagree with me, I have had to ask hard questions in order to grow and discern the truth.
What I would love, more than anything, as the dust settles and the election comes to a close, is to watch the shackles of the flesh fall. I want to witness believers walking in freedom and loving one another, differing opinions and all. Yes, I want to see the Spirit fall on us, in a mighty, holy way. I long to taste the fruit of the Spirit, its sweetness dripping down my chin.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23, NASB)
These quarrels among believers need to end. We would better serve our Father if we were to link arms with one another. We would do well to walk in time with the Spirit.
Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:24-26, NASB)
I need you. I need those who believe to rise up and stand with me. As I journey through this life, I need your strengths, your gifts, and your wisdom. Your experiences help me to learn and to grow. Your honesty in disagreeing with me allows me to evaluate whether I am walking in the flesh or the Spirit. I need you, and you need me too.
- Have you found yourself in an online battle of words? Friend, I have been there. Believe me, I have. If you have been careless with the freedom you have, and with your words, would you take a minute to apologize? Admit your wrongdoing. Speak in love.
- Pray for those who have insulted you. Pray those individuals discover the fullness of freedom in Christ, and that they begin to walk in the Spirit.
- Ask God to show you areas in your life where you have been choosing to allow your flesh to lead you. Repent, then ask Him to give you wisdom and discernment in how you speak and act toward others.
- Praise God for the freedom we have in Christ.