The Freedoms of the Christian

For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters;only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence,but through love become slaves to one another.               Galatians 5:13 NRS

I saw a tee-shirt today with the slogan “Don’t Mess With My Freedom.” What was the wearer wanting to communicate about freedom? I am quite sure he was thinking, as so many Americans are today, of his right to do anything he wanted. Freedom in this day and time has come to mean freedom from constraint of any sort, including the constraints of duty, responsibility, the common good, or whatever. “I must do my own thing at whatever cost to anybody else” has become the common line.  What’s gone wrong to make us think like that?  We have lost hope. Above everything else America’s dream was founded upon hope—the sturdy conviction that with good will, faithfulness and hard work it was possible to achieve anything. Having lost that hope, we have fallen into the pit of self-indulgence, and if someone or something dares to limit that right of self-indulgence, they are in serious trouble.

But that is not freedom. It is merely another kind of bondage. Thank God for the freedom that comes to us in Christ Jesus—freedom to love when we are not loved in return, freedom to serve without keeping a record of who is serving me, freedom to take that lower place without martyrdom or bitterness, freedom to find contentment where it meets us instead of lunging at it and missing it, freedom to be pure, freedom from deceit or malice, freedom from self-consciousness, from jealous ambition, from arrogant pride, and from the passion to possess. Freedom.

We hope for Heaven with him one day, but better than that, we may know today what it is to be like him in his grace, to be like him in his power, and to be like him in his freedom. There is the assurance that you and I, through the indwelling Spirit, may turn every constraint into an opportunity and in so doing, be free.  Freedom in Christ today, tomorrow and forever. That’s true freedom.

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