“For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.” (Galatians 5:13-15 NIV)
As I was given the task of sharing my insight from the Holy Spirit with you on this section of scripture, I kept getting drawn to the end of Galatians 5:13. Serve humbly in love. These three words: serve, humble and love are important actions and characteristics of the life that God desires for us all. These words get me really excited and passionate about life but I am always open to discovering more about their intended meaning in my life. So I felt that I should dig down into the original Greek and see if there was more clarity to be had.
What I found was really interesting. If you go to Blue Letter Bible, it will break down each word from a verse in the original Greek language. I found love was translated from the noun agape and serve came from the Greek verb douleuo. When I searched for humbly, there wasn’t a Greek translation for it. When I looked at other biblical translations, I found that the word humbly was not there. The NKJV, NASB and many others said “serve in love.” Only NIV had humbly included. When I looked at the description for douleuo it says: serve, bondage, and service. Wow. Bondage, as in slavery? I thought about the idea of slavery and how it is a way of fully submitting oneself to another. To me, slavery intrinsically runs parallel with humility. There isn’t always need to add humility when referencing bondage and service.
As you look at the words earlier in the verse, it says that because of our new freedom in Christ as believers, we should use our freedom to serve one another in love. Or basically because you are free, you should focus on service for others with love instead of indulging in desires of the flesh (mentioned in Galatians 5:19-21). This is radical!! This is the antithesis of self-preservation and comfort. This is agape love though, am I right? This is un-conditional, lay it all out, sacrificial, undeserving passion for those that don’t deserve it. But this is Jesus. This is the Christ who came down to serve and not be served. Let us seek to be more like Him in our serving one another with love.
How does the idea of serving like a slave for the well-being of others with love make you feel? What are some practical ways that you can serve with love today?
Father, thank You for the power in Your scripture. Thank You that You call us out to be spirit led and give us the tools of the Holy Spirit to love others without conditions. Help us to align our heart with the Holy Spirit in us as we serve others. In Jesus’ name; amen.