It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)
When it comes to the subject of freedom, it seems like we spend a lot of time thinking about what we have been--or desire to be--set free from, but I wonder if it might be more fruitful for us also to consider what we have been set free for. Here in Galatians, Paul reminds us that we have not only been set free from something, but we have been set free for something. And what we have been set free for is freedom. What an interesting thought. And what does that even mean? Maybe what he's saying is that we have been set free from our slavery to fear and anxiety and insecurity--from being self-consumed, in other words--in order that we might be set free for love. Because until we are free, we will never be able to genuinely love anyone; we will be too busy trying to manipulate and extort love out of them instead. Therefore, in order to truly care for and minster to people, without demanding that they meet our needs in some sadly warped way, we must first experience freedom in Christ. Freedom for something much larger than us. Freedom for his kingdom and his purposes. Freedom to be who and what he created us to be. Maybe that's why Paul goes on to say: "For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another." (Galatians 5:13, ESV) Food for thought I suppose.
Plant your feet firmly therefore within the freedom that Christ has won for us, and do not let yourselves be caught again in the shackles of slavery. (Galatians 5:1, JBP)
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