Daily D – Galatians 5:13
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. GALATIANS 5:13 (NLT)
2 Corinthians 3:17, 18 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.
“Freedom is a pretty good thing!” Annie shouts in Field of Dreams. “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means,” Inigo says in The Princess Bride.
Freedom is not the ability to do whatever you want. A dictionary definition may say freedom is the power or right to act, speak, or think without hindrance or restraint. However, there are always restraints and constraints in our lives. Self-control and social contracts keep us from limitless expression of hindrance-free living.
How should we more accurately define the idea of freedom, especially in light of our relationship with Jesus Christ? Good question! Paul in 2 Corinthians 3 and Galatians 5 gives us clear instruction.
In 2 Corinthians 3:17, 18, we are free to reflect the radiant goodness of our God. As B. B. McKinney’s old hymn says, “Let others see Jesus in you.”
Your life’s a book before their eyes,
They’re reading it thro’ and thro’
Say, does it point them to the skies,
Do others see Jesus in you?
This begs the question, “What will they see when they see Jesus in you?” Galatians 5:13 says they will see us serving others in love. Freedom is not freedom if we do not serve. Even Bob Dylan acknowledged this paradox when he sang,
You may be an ambassador to England or France
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes
Indeed you’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody
Copyright © 1979 by Special Rider Music
Spiritual freedom empowers us to live like Jesus and to follow the Holy Spirit’s direction (v. 16). We are divinely enabled to make the kinds of choices that build up us and others. This freedom edifies. It does no harm. Freedom does not take or destroy what belongs to others. Freedom delivers us from the consequences of sinful choices.
Spiritual freedom produces characteristics in us which are likewise found in Jesus (vv. 22, 23). They are quite different from what sinful choices produce (vv. 19-21). We know we are living in the freedom of the Holy Spirit when we reflect more and more of Jesus. This means there is more, much more, love in our lives. It overflows in expressions of joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
This produces the kinds of lives we always dreamed possible. The more we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us, the more we follow his lead, the more pleasant and purposeful life is. We come to the place where we wholeheartedly endorse what Paul writes in verse 25: “Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” If there is one thing we can truly never get enough of, it is becoming all God wants us to be by following his lead in all things at all times.
Freedom is a pretty good thing when it is defined and practiced appropriately. How will you exercise your freedom today?
I will invite the Holy Spirit to lead me moment by moment, thought by thought, word by word.
Our Father, you give us the freedom to build better lives and a better world. Empower us by your Holy Spirit to exercise our freedom in loving service to others. Empower us to reflect your radiant goodness everywhere we go and in all we do. May others see Jesus in us. Amen.
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Jeremiah 35:12-14 “This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go and tell the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, ‘Will you not learn a lesson and obey my words?’ declares the Lord. ‘Jehonadab son of Rekab ordered his descendants not to drink wine and this command has been kept. To this day they do not drink wine, because they obey their forefather’s command. But I have spoken to you again and again, yet you have not obeyed me.”
Psalm 78:70-72 He chose David his servant and took him from the sheep pens; from tending the sheep he brought him to be the shepherd of his people Jacob, of Israel his inheritance. And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.
Jeremiah 23:20-22 The anger of the Lord will not turn back until he fully accomplishes the purposes of his heart. In days to come you will understand it clearly. I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied. But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds.