Serve One Another!
“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”
We are freed from sin when we obey the gospel of Christ, and as we continue the obedience of faith, we stay free from sin in Him (Rom. 6:17-23). We must not, however, be foolish and presumptuous about that freedom. Do not, Paul said above, “use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh.” And this is echoed by Peter: “…do not use your freedom as a covering for evil,” (1 Pet. 2:16, NASB). So what we enjoy and praise God for, must never become any license for liberty. That is the “do not” part of this.
The DO part of this is: “…through love serve one another.” Observe this isn’t a legalistic, “do I have do” kind of thing. No. This is service we render to each other out of a sincere mind toward all the components of service we are able to provide. We have received from God, have freedom in Christ, so now: “…use it to serve one another.” This we do gladly as “good stewards of God’s varied grace,” (1 Pet. 4:10).
We do this likewise as disciples of Christ who “came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as ransom for many,” (Mark 10:42-45).
What does this look like in actual practice? It looks like counting others more significant than ourselves (Phil. 2:30. It looks like equipping ourselves to be able to instruct one another (Rom. 15:14). I looks like bearing with one another, “and if one has a complaints against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive,” (Col. 3:13). It looks like sharing bread (Prov. 22:9), showing hospitality (1 Pet. 4:9) and refusing to put a stumbling block or offense before a brother (Rom. 14:13). We are free but free to serve in these ways, to the glory of God.
Serving one another sounds like declining greatness (Luke 22:26-27), encouraging one another (1 Thess. 4:18), praying for each other (Jas. 5:130 and speaking words of kindness (Col. 3:12). Freedom in Christ? YES, thank God. In that freedom there is service to God and His people and to the lost, through love.
I suspect I’ll spend the rest of my life attempting to live the outward-focused life. Learning to be a servant is quite a process. There is a big part of me that just wants to circle the wagons. Or cocoon. Or whatever word describes inward living. And I’m pretty sure my brain would be happy just storing stuff. But I want my heart to rule, to receive and give. Because as I periodically remind myself, this life is not about me; it’s about God and others. Enough talk. Now let’s make a difference in someone’s life today. Enough talk. Now let’s Let’s go serve somebody. [Source: Workman, Dave. The Outward-Focused Life: Becoming a Servant in a Serve-Me World (p. 186). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.]