by: Carole L. Haines
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore, keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:1, 13 NASB)
Freedom vs slavery, and what it actually means, has been debated, discussed, agreed and disagreed upon, since the beginning of time. Some people consider freedom, the ability to do whatever we want to do, whenever we want to do it. The Bible defines it far differently. The Word of God defines slavery in direct relation to sin in our lives; and freedom as the gift from God, to not walk in that slavery anymore. This is dramatically opposed to what some would call freedom.
According to the passage above, true freedom involves several things.
Christ set us free for freedom, we were called to freedom. We must stand firm in that truth of freedom. It is we, who subject ourselves again to the yoke of slavery. So, what is this yoke of slavery? It is sin, and I believe we are being shown three particularly dangerous ones in this passage.
*We must not become boastful
*We must not begin to challenge one another
*We must not envy one another
Boasting, envying, and challenging, all involve self-promotion; thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought to think. (Romans 12:3) To walk by the Spirit involves thinking rightly about ourselves and others. What do we have that has not been given to us by God? Nothing. What is there to boast about, since all we have, including our talents and spiritual gifts, are given to us by God? And why should we envy one another, since the Holy Spirit gives us our gifts and talents according to the Will of God. You are exactly who you need to be, who you are supposed to be. No gift is more important than any other, all are needed, all are essential. 7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. (1 Corinthians 12:7 NASB) We are not given our gifts for ourselves, but for one another. We are to serve one another through love. I have found great freedom in this. No one is clamoring for position, down on the bottom rung. I have found more of Jesus down here, in the place of service, than when I was trying to make my way to the top. More of Jesus, less of me; isn’t that what it’s all about? In serving ourselves, we become subject to the slavery of sin again. In serving one another, we are free. O, the beautiful paradoxes we find in God’s Word, truly stunning. God’s Word is a mosaic of glorious freedom and truth. Dear ones, it is for freedom that Christ set us free. We are called to freedom. Let’s serve one another, with our gifts, and we will find the Joy of the Lord in this place.