Closing the Gap 5.4.18

Week 17 “Serve One Another”

Day 5

Pray:

Ask God to reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.

Read:

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. 16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature

Reflect:

You cannot control the attitudes and actions of others.  Yet, those attitudes and actions have a tremendous impact on your life.  What are you to do then? The most common approaches are to wallow in worry, to escalate attempts to control others, to become bitter, or to disengage from people altogether. These approaches lead to Paul’s vivid description of “biting and devouring each other” with the final outcome of being “destroyed by each other.”  There is a striking contrast in this passage between “serving one another” and “biting and devouring each other.” To serve is to give what you have that someone else needs. To “bite and devour” is to try and forcefully take what you are demanding from them. You are a child of God under the control of the Spirit. You are not meant to live like an animal under the control of impulses and instincts.  Do you have a demanding heart or a trusting heart? Do you demand that God, others, and life give you what you believe you must have to be fulfilled? Are you quick to judge, to pout, or to become angry when others do not behave in a way that you want them to? Are you easily offended and ready to blame others for your unhappiness? You do not have to think or to live this way. You can, if you choose to do so, but you do not have to.  Will you move away from this bitter and hard country of “demanding” and, instead, travel to the pleasant and beautiful country of “trusting?” You cannot control the choices of others; you can only control your own choices. God has given you both that privilege and that responsibility. Choose to trust God for what you need and relinquish the impulse to control others. The practical application of trusting God is to serve others. Faith in God is revealed in the way we respond to others.  Do you believe God is ‘enough’? Do you want to experience that reality more and more in your life? Then trust God by serving others and see him both meet your needs and reveal his love to others more fully through your life.

Pray:

(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today.

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