Together in Christ: 'Biting, Devouring, Destroying?' — Galatians 5:15

Monday, July 17, 2023

But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.
— Galatians 5:15 NLT

Key Thought

Wow! Notice the strong words Paul uses to describe the disagreements between brothers and sisters going on in Galatia — biting, devouring, and destroying! We might be tempted to think of this as exaggerated preacher talk, except Paul uses stronger language directed at those causing the problems and pain. [1]

If Jesus' night with His disciples before His crucifixion teaches us anything, it's that our deepest wounds can be caused by those closest to us in God's family. Jesus' apostles betrayed, [2] denied, [3] and forsook [4] Jesus in His hour of deepest need. They couldn't even stay awake to pray with Him for an hour! [5] Paul had openly persecuted disciples before His conversion experience in Damascus. [6] He knew the determination and vitriol of well-intentioned heretic hunters gone bad! Paul wanted to show these warring Christian believers that freedom in Christ means freedom to serve and bless — not bite, devour, and destroy. Paul knew Jesus wanted His followers to be identified by their love for each other [7] so the world could see God had sent Jesus to save and bless all people.

Let's be extra careful in how we talk about each other in Christ. Let's make sure the mountain we are making out of an issue important to us is not just a tiny hill of our own making. Let's "watch out" and not let our traditions, strong wills, and familiar ways of doing things create walls between each other that Jesus didn't want built. If we are not careful, we will cause lasting damage to each other, our fellowship, and our influence on our communities!

[1] Galatians 5:12.
[2] Luke 22:47-48.
[3] Luke 22:54-62.
[4] Mark 14:32-42.
[5] Mark 14:46-50.
[6] John 13:34-35, 17:21, 23.

Today's Prayer

Father, forgive us — forgive me — for the times we have made mountains out of molehills and treated minnow-weight issues as if they were whale-weight issues. I know there are core doctrines of faith I cannot allow to be altered or scrapped. At the same time, dear Father, I don't want my pet peeves to be made into issues over which Your children fight and divide. Please help us, dear Holy Spirit, to know what is important to God and realize that everything important to you means treating each other with loving concern, not rancorous and hostile speech.^ In Your name, Lord Jesus, I ask present this prayer. Amen.

^ Ephesians 4:14-16.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Ephesians 4:1-16
  • Luke 22:39-65


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Illustration of Galatians 5:15 NLT — But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.

About This Devotional

Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.

'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.