Ain’t No Feeling Like Being Free!
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made is free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”-Galatians 5:1
I love the Word of God because in it I have found such freedom!
As I’m spending time reflecting on past years, I feel overwhelmed with joy because I am truly beginning to understand the character of God, and thus am really putting in the work to model my life after Christ’s. The life I’m after is a life of total freedom, through constant worship and connection to God. In Galatians 5:22, the Word speaks of the Fruit of the Spirit. I love how it only talks about there being ONE fruit. This is so cool because that means that if I have love, I also have peace; if I have longsuffering, I also have joy, etc. Since there is ONE fruit, when I receive it, I receive all the flavors that come along with it: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. How awesome! My pastor recently made the statement that if we want to know some of the characteristics of God, check out the fruit of the Spirit.
What does this have to do with freedom? I’m glad you asked. In the book of Galatians, Paul is writing to the church in Galatia dispelling their notions that if they abide by enough laws, they will be saved. Geez! Part of the reason the Law was given in the first place was for us to realize how completely helpless we are, and that we need a savior. “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” –John 3:17. And if that isn’t enough, Ephesians 2:8,9 talks about the miracle of God’s grace: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” Wait. You mean I’m free to live a life in total liberty, completely submerged in God’s grace, and absolutely justified by faith in Jesus Christ? Yes. After all, what do you do when someone gives you a gift? You graciously accept it. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” –Romans 5:1. No longer do I feel that I have to rely on my own willpower to not sin. No more do I feel that I have to pay for sins Jesus already took care of. No further will I live in the bondage of my shortcomings. I AM JUSTIFIED AND FREE.
Now, Paul is not suggesting that the Law is bad. However, in the case of Galatia, threatening the true gospel of salvation through God’s grace is rather daring. Am I arguing Law=bondage? No. Abiding by laws is not the ruler by which we are measured to enter Heaven. “For God so love the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” –John 3:16. Wow. What a promise! Believing is the precursor to obedience. Christianity is not about living by a bunch of laws; it’s about having a relationship with the triune God, and living a life that truly worships Jesus.
Let’s go back to bondage. In my short 24 years on this Earth, I’ve learned enough to know that I don’t ever want to be in prison:
· The prison of the mind
· The prison of emotions
· The prison of sin
These are self-sentencing facilities where hopelessness and discouragement live as watch guards. When in prison, I can’t seem to find my fruit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. I do, however, have no trouble uncovering the lusts of the flesh (notice how lusts is plural, indicating that struggling with one does not equal struggling with them all): adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envying, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like (Gal. 5:19-21). There is no freedom here. So I escaped, just shy of my big 24!
Christ=freedom. Living a life counting on our goodness to save us is hopeless and binds us to a contract we can’t fulfill. “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one” –Romans 3:10. When I decided to fully lean on the Holy Spirit for guidance and courage to combat my sin, the tree of my life began producing good fruit, just as Paul said it would. And now, I ain’t ever going back. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” –John 8:36.
If you have recently come into the light of your own freedom, allow me to be the first to wish you a Happy Birthday!
God loves you and so do I,