Galatians 5: 13-18
How was your week? I pray that you are staying faithful to the creator, the redeemer, and the helper. I pray that you are finding time to wrestle with Scripture, and to pray. I pray that you are finding yourself strengthened and moved to be more than you ever have been, and I pray that you are DOING something with your faith.
Remember, Do Not Be Afraid, There is Enough, You Are Enough!
What is freedom? The dictionary tells us that freedom is: the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.
I believe that we can use our freedom in ways that are helpful and yet also in ways that are very hurtful. Some instances we do not have a clear understanding of which is which. We believe that we are exercising our freedom to be or do what we choose but in reality we are hurting someone else, possibly even someone that we care about.
This week we will find ourselves celebrating the freedom of a group of people. The independence of those of us who were born and raised in the United States of America. The freedom that we enjoy comes at a very strong price. Men and women died and gave their lives so that we might have the opportunity to act, speak, and think as one without restraint.
The freedom that Paul wrote to the Galatians is a similar freedom.
V13. 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.
You have freedom in Christ. There is a freedom from the wages of our sinful lives, but we are not to continue to live there and indulging within that sinful nature. We are called to use our freedom to love and serve. Isn’t this what Jesus demonstrated to his disciples? Even on the night of his final meal with them, he washed their feet. He chose to die for us and to take our place. Why do we find it so hard to do the same for those around us?
V 14-15. 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.
Paul is calling the people of Galatia to love one another, or you might end up devouring and destroying one another.
It would not take us long to watch the news, to scroll through our social media feed and realize that we are living in a society that is completely okay with forcing their beliefs on you, criticizing your every move, using hate to let you know they disagree with you, and making you feel horrible about the choices that you are making. “Beware of destroying one another”.
The church should be better than this. We should be loving and caring. We should be helping people within our community and not worried at all about what we are going to receive in return. That is how Jesus did it and that is our model of how we should be living. Will we disagree with someone? Sure we will, but we do not have to react and lash out the way the world does. We should be responding with love, the way Jesus did.
V 16-18. So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.
I can always tell when I am slipping away from the Spirit. I begin to get very selfish, and very “matter of fact” about things. This is usually when I am tired and stretched too far also.
When we dig in and we commit to this relationship with Jesus, it should change us. We should be living in the presence of the Holy Spirit and we should not be giving in to our sinful desires. This is something that is constantly at odds and we are right in the middle of it. Your good intentions are getting lost in the struggle and we are finding ourselves hurting and lost.
We need God every minute of every hour. We need his presence and strength during our weakest times, and even more in our strongest times. We need him to be present so that we can find ourselves becoming all that he needs us to be. God is not going to have you in this relationship with him so that you can enjoy your inheritance here on earth. He is preparing you for a life that is free from pain and suffering, by showing you what that suffering looks like.
I couldn’t help but think of the lyrics from Maybe It’s Ok by We Are Messengers.
If I didn't know what it hurt like to be broken
Then how would I know what it feels like to be whole
If I didn't know what it cost like to be rejected
Then I wouldn't know that Your love coming home
If I didn't know what it looks like to be dirty
Then I wouldn't know what it feels like to be clean
And if all of my shame hadn't drove me to hide in the shadows
Then I wouldn't know the beauty of being free
How do we know that we are free if there is nothing to compare it to?
How can we begin to use our freedom as a strength rather than a weakness?
Can you find yourself this week doing things that are bringing you closer to God? Are you willing to invest time and energy into the one relationship that could possibly unlock the greatest freedom that you will ever know? If you are willing to get there, make sure that you thank Jesus on the way. He is the one who makes all of this possible.