Hi everyone. Rob here.
There’s a verse in Galatians that gnaws at my soul:
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.
It gnaws at me because I know that I have barely scratched the surface of living out the freedom that Christ has won for me. Maybe you feel the same. At various times I feel bound by others opinions, financial concerns, feelings of inadequacy, physical limitations, a nagging sense of unworthiness and plain old fear. Some of those things are the natural limitations of life and others reveal just how much more I need of Jesus.
Freedom, in our individualistic and consumeristic age, has come to mean, ‘doing what I want, when I want and how I want.’ But freedom in the biblical sense is the freedom to do God’s will, to live out of our deep desire for God and to be fully and truly human. This is why Paul says later:
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather serve one another humbly in love (Galatians 5:13).
It’s the ‘in love’ bit that is the challenge. It’s relatively easy to serve one another out of dutiful obedience or to look good on Sundays but out of love? That would require an abundance of love flowing out from me which means that it needs to be in me to start with! And that’s the point. Christ’s freedom is an invitation to be loved. It is to have the Father come to us and say “everything I have is yours (Luke 15:31).” It is to take our place as sons and daughters around the table. It is to have our older brother – Jesus – come to us and say, “Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace (Matthew 11:29).” It is to have the Spirit fill us and remind us that the Father and the Son make their home in us (John 14:23). To be loved and to be free is to be swept up into the life and love of God the trinity; the life and love that exists between Father, Son and Spirit.
And this is why freedom and selfishness don’t mix and can’t mix. Freedom is a God-quality that through Christ has been passed on to us. I have barely scratched the surface of freedom because I am still learning that dying to self and coming alive to God is the best way to live. I still seek to protect myself instead of give myself away. I still arrange for my own comfort instead of coming home to the Father and enjoying the fruits of his kingdom – a kingdom which he freely gives us for our use. Maybe you can see yourself in this too.
May we know freedom because we know love and the one who loves us. We are children of God, intimate allies of the King and ambassadors of the kingdom. We are beloved sons and beloved daughters. We have the run of the house and everything he has is ours. May this freedom bring you joy and be a blessing to all you meet.
Grace and peace.