Daily D – Galatians 5:13
For you were called to be free, brothers and sisters; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love. (CSB)
It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. (MSG)
True freedom is a matter of choosing to serve others with the kind of love that seeks their highest and best.
If you have the translation called the Christian Standard Bible, notice the margin note for the word “opportunity.” The word literally means “pretext.” This is a military term for abuse of position. Do not abuse your freedom by making yourself the primary person you serve. Use your freedom to serve others in love.
We live in a self-serve world. Gasoline stations are almost exclusively self-serve. We can tap to pay at the pump and avoid connecting with another human being for this transaction. Many other businesses operate in a similar fashion.
This self-sufficiency can make us feel like we do not need others in our lives unless it is a brief, transactional relationship. This convenience distances us from human interaction. Our communication skills deteriorate. The warmth of human kindness cools.
This is not true freedom.
The Apostle Paul uses the Greek word for love here meaning to seek the highest good for others. This is a second strike against the idea of self-service as a lifestyle. Self-focused, self-serving lives make us more irritable when inconvenienced. No wonder Paul says in verse 15, “If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”
True freedom expresses God’s love in kind, helpful service. We serve not because we have to, but because we know what it does for all concerned. It improves personal relationships. It enhances community life. It defangs irritability and empowers joy.
We might even go so far as to say that unless we serve others humbly in love, we are not really free. We are free to the degree we choose to humbly serve others seeking their highest and best to the glory of God.
Today, Independence Day, is a good day to share the love Jesus showed when he bowed and washed the feet of his betrayer, his denier, and his doubter. Two out of three of these men’s lives were forever transformed. That’s better than average any day.
I will express true freedom by serving others in love.
Our Father, you have always and forever sought my highest and best good. Empower me to join you in serving others in such a manner that they experience your love and live transformed lives. Amen.
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Acts 10:34, 35 Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.”
Acts 5:38, 39 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”