The Grace of Constraint

  This week’s sermon passage: Galatians 5:1-12

This image provided by “Love All Ways” and

Tom Laudari




The tragedy of Norway’s youth camp massacre has sent me into yet another spiral. I wonder if others are not equally dismayed at the vitriol that seems to simmer and then boil over on these hot, summer days. Whether it is the self-deluded totmom who parties while her daughter lies dead or the newstalking head who is lambasting her for her personal tv ratings, I feel as if the world is hopelessly fixed on a path of destruction. It is not only a destruction but one rooted in dogmatic dedication.

I have to keep reminding myself that this lemming-like march toward annihilation exists because, by nature, we are anxious to find a pathway through the minefield of life. High idealism and high regard for self-fulfillment are inherent in our dna but with the complexity of life, we often create mantras or laws of operation to navigate the noise. Paul points out in Galatians that this predisposition means that we naturally will destroy ourselves going all the way with our operational source code.

Clearly, the better though not easier way is to operate by the law of love. In the passage looked at this weekend, it will mean that waiting in hope for the law of love to fully take effect is one of the difficult consequences of living by this mandate. We must act in love while the world around us dances to a different drumbeat.

It becomes evident that inheriting the peace and promises of God requires a great deal of self-control and impulse constraint. This I see most readily in God’s own way of dealing with me. I’m mindful of God’s singleminded love for me and even when I heed him no quarter, he is measured and faithful. I think that is what it means when he says that it is for “freedom that Christ has made us free.” (Gal 5:1)

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