15 But if you bite and devour one another,
watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit,
and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
Tonight we enjoyed a fruitful discussion in God’s Word. Drawing our thoughts for the lesson from the 5th Chapter of Galatians, we allowed the 15th and 16th verse to run the first leg of tonight’s’ teaching. In our discussion about becoming better evangelist and witnesses for Christ, we find ourselves working on self that we might be more effective in efforts for Christ.
But first a pit-stop. Paul addresses in this chapter an important part of Kingdom, its citizens. He writes to handle issues that have arisen in the church, and with a stroke of the pen, corrects bad teaching and bad behavior.
For today’s discussion, I presented to the group the illustration of a freshly prepared hamburger. It exist whole, without a bite. The burger, fully in tact consist of many layer, and holds in it a varying level of content. In this, it is placed into our hands to handle as we choose. Now of course, our flesh and stomach need and are designed to consume, but today we took our discussion to the Spiritual.
The first question asked was: “How is a burger consumed?”
The answer of course is “One bite at a time!” These bites can vary in size, ranging from small to large, they can come from any angle, can be taken in a short amount of time, or a long amount of time, but with each bite, that which was whole begin to disappear. Paul wrote a warning to the Body of Christ, “if you bite” he warns, soon you will “consume…one another.”
The next question asked was: “Who have you taken a bite of?”
This is an important question. As we hit the neighborhoods to bare witness bout Christ, we have found that many people have met Christ, but remain at home because they are suffering from the wounds of a bite! They accepted the Gospel, but couldn’t get past the offenses committed by His church! I know, they are immature! That’s what you are thinking! They have a fake faith built on man, and your faith is built on God. They don’t have enough Word in them? Right? Get over yourself I say! Mature or Immature, healing from wounds takes time, and some bites are just fatal! Infection set in, and death follows. And yes, you would probably say that its their fault, right? It’s their fault they are offended, right? They should simply forgive and move on, right?
Paul warns us, bites take away from us and lead to consumption. Someone are simply being eaten alive by those who are in the fold and not walking according to the flesh. People have perished in our ministries, and some who survived, are holding on to life by a thread. This brought out a sad reality; many of the people entering our churches are half eaten.
That’s right. Those entering your church from previous church homes are sometimes lead to new fields, and other times are escaping hurt and looking for healing and peace.
Why is it you ask that a person can leave after one offense? Ahh, you said they were immature, but the reality is that many of them were suffering from prior bites, and are just trying to keep from being completely consumed. And then we foolishly judge them for protecting themselves, and label them to protect our own ignorance. Our bites are often made worse by those who are not remorseful. Yep, its that important that we treat each other right, because each person is in a different state, and have different experiences, and your encounter with them can be the difference between them growing in Christ, and dwelling at home alone.
In this day of social media and technology, our encounters with people are weighed even heavier in that many people have grown accustomed to experiencing the world via a video and even a blog. The human factor is being removed and replaced by imogies and virtual reality, thus limiting the room for error in our encounters with one another.
Paul says while some suffer from “bites” others are “devoured”.
Have you devoured anyone?
This word frightened me! The thought that there could be one within our ranks who doesn’t fall from time to time and bite someone, but that in one or two encounters, shows a complete lack of restraint and concern for another and eats them alive in one or two sittings! How is it that we can destroy those God has sent, stitching the bond of peace afforded to all of us through the blood of Christ and the unity of the Spirit! Our lack of restraint towards one another can cause those in our midst not to question God’s existence, but if God exist in the place they have become a part of. Let it not be said of you that you chased away someone that the Spirit draw-ed neigh because of your unwillingness to pursue righteousness and kill the flesh.
How many people have you devoured? Who’s at home licking their wounds? Who’s exploring different horizons? Who’s falling away from the faith because of you? Sadly, only God knows. The reality is that most multiple offenders are just being themselves and don’t realize or acknowledge that they are “biters” dare say I “consumers.” Shame to say, this “consumer” mentality exists in the house, as we jockey for position and protect our territory, and fight for a light that is the glory of humans, which is the glory that fades. We shine our light not to lead, but to blind people with judgement, and are eager to condemn others, while pardoning our wickedness and justifying our actions.
Paul says, don’t “gratify your flesh”! Yep, there is nothing good within us, and every once in a while, the desire to bite happens. The old man fights his way back in the picture and begins warring for control of your limbs. He plants thoughts in your mind as to how you should respond, and how you should act, what you should say, and how it should be said, but Paul says resist! “Walk by the Spirit” he says. Control that which remains dormant in you by continually submitting to the God that is in you! Just because you have the thought, doesn’t mean you have to follow its suggestion. It’s just that, a suggestion. Unwise counsel given from an unwise source, whom desires to wound as many as he can from fire within the camp. The devil hinders the growth of the Kingdom through those of us who continue fulfilling the desires of the flesh, allowing the old man to once again lift his hands in victory. Yield to the leading of the Holy Spirit and allow His guidance to keep you from biting and devouring your fellow brother and sister. Kingdom depends on it!