Loving or Devouring One Another
The real animal kingdom is hardly Disney World. Mary and I were watching a program on the arctic wolves in the extreme cold of northern Greenland and the Canadian Arctic. Their usual prey are caribou, musk oxen, seals, ptarmigan and lemmings, but let a younger male intrude on the territory of an alpha male, and the fangs are bared, and the fight is on.
Romanticized ideas about how loving and tender nature are naïve and deadly. The Apostle Paul uses the brutal competition and fights between animals to warn us against devouring one another in what is supposed to be God’s Family.
“For you have been called to freedom, brothers and sisters. Don’t use this freedom as an opportunity to indulge the sinful nature. Instead, serve one another in love. The entire Law is summed up in one command, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you keep on biting and devouring one another, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.” Galatians 5:13-15
It’s amazing how our churches can become bloody battle grounds. The sermon is too long. It’s too short. The music is too contemporary. It’s too traditional. The auditorium is too informal to be a sanctuary. It’s too formal for multi-purpose use. The list of what causes believers to get angry with one another goes on and on, and Satan loves it when we fight. But we can overcome all this pride and selfishness by humbly remembering that none of us got into God’s family by our merits and abilities. It’s all a free gift, and it’s time for us to express that love Jesus poured into our lives toward each other. Jesus told us, “By this they will know that you are my disciples. You love one another.”
LORD, when I’m tempted to take a bite out of another believer today, to fight with them and prove that I’m better than they are, help me to see those wolves attacking and devouring their own and allow your Spirit to incapacitate my sin nature and fuel the new.
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