For freedom Christ has set us free, stand firm therefor, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.

Galatians 5: 1

Almost all people desire to obtain freedom. It doesn’t really seem to matter what the circumstances of life may be, either, for freedom’s opposite, slavery or possession, is also commonly perceived. We are all owned by something or by someone; so, everyone experiences what it is like to be held against our wills. Most people actually volunteer for some of the tours of duty as indentured workers that play out over the course of life. It is the nature and the character of this world to attempt to control people and to hold us away from the full potential that was given to us in God’s design and plan for our lives. However, slavery is not the true nature of life, and bondage is not the condition that God desires for us to experience.

Jesus left the absolute freedom of heaven in order to live in our enslaved world so that people like you and I could experience the sort of freedom that God intends for us to know. The form of freedom that God desires for us to have does not operate as license to think and to act in any manner that we might choose to do. Instead, it is a form of freedom in which people willingly submit to God’s authority and rule. This freedom is restrained and it is self-sacrificing in that its primary purpose and use is for the benefit of others and for the glory of God’s name. The highest expression of this freedom is found as we yield our wills and subordinate our desires to God’s will as expressed in His Word and to the leading of His Spirit in its implementation.

So, this is the strange freedom that Christ leads us into. He sets us free from earthly bondage in its many forms, but He also asks that we submit to His will with all of our minds and hearts. Yet, this is not the same as being purchased by one oppressive master from another. The Lord does allow for us to make choices in all of this, and we are granted the free will to submit to God’s leading and desire for the conduct of our lives. For turning over control and guidance of life to Christ is the most freeing thing that anyone can do. He knows the gifts, talents, and skills that we were given when we were created, and the Lord directs us onto a path through life that sets all of that potential free for us to use. Thus, Christ provides us with opportunities to have an impact on our world that are such that we can touch the enslaved around us with the breath of true freedom.    

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.

Galatians 5: 1

Comfort can be a hard habit to break. We like to sit in its presence and luxuriate in its softly enfolding sense of security. It is frequently a condition of the inner person that calls upon us when we are tired and troubled; for comfort brings to mind the ways that we have found personal peace and have escaped from dealing with hard times in the past. Unfortunately, the places that many of our minds call upon us to go can be bigger traps and more destructive than the momentary stresses of the current challenges. Our forms of comfort are too frequently escape mechanisms that divert attention away from dealing with the issues of life and out of an attitude that is focused on loving others and resolving conflicts.

When comfort takes the form of the overstuffed chair of religion, it can be very damaging to our ability to truly represent Christ. Everyone whether raised in a home where God was openly celebrated and worshiped or in one where nonbelief was the mantra, comes from a religious background. Then, we all continue to develop our personal concepts and ideas of who God is and of how He is to be served. Christ sets us free from all of the human devised ideas and practices that divert us from the absolutely freeing truth of God’s Word; yet, most of us still continue to go back to old ways of thinking and to devising our own ideas of what God actually meant for us to believe. We continue to seek to find that comfort inside of ourselves rather than through trusting Christ to give us all that we will need.

In Christ we are given the freedom to be sad, to be tired, to be troubled, and to find comfort in Him when these conditions are present with us. In Christ we are free to care about others regardless of who they are, what they are doing, and how they view our God. In Christ we are released from the need to serve the additional gods of tradition and practice. Christ went to the cross so that we could be free, and He leads us to that same cross so that the freedom that He suffered and died for will be ours in its totality. Freedom comes through trust and by faith in the Lord’s totally loving, superior way of viewing life, and His freedom brings all of the comfort that my weary body can ever need.  

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.

Galatians 5: 1

 

This is an interesting choice of words on the part of Rabbi Paul. First off he submits for our consideration that we have been set free. The question would be, “Free from what?” Most people who know Christ can answer that one. We have been set free from the oppression of sin that owned us before we knew Jesus. The chains that tied our hearts and minds to the walls of a prison cell that was defined in terms like anger, lust, hatred, envy, fear and self-gain have been removed. There is a newly found lightness of step and of heart that makes the weight of this world bearable. Christ brings us out of the darkness that we have been hiding in and into the light of His truth. This is quite a lot to consider, but Paul is saying much more about this new life that we have been given.

 

It would seem that God’s purpose in setting us free is so that we would, in fact, live in freedom. Well, so? This is often the real rub when it comes to experiencing the changed life that Christ promises. Frequently people are frustrated and held down by figuratively continuing to reside in their old prison cells. It is familiar territory, feels safe, and the risk of new relationships and expectations is avoided in there. However, that room is dark, dank and oppressive. The spirit can not soar to the heights that God has promised when it is held down by a concrete ceiling. Christ wants to lead His people into the adventure of engagement with and in our world. He brings us out of an old life, and He takes us into a new one where our potential is almost unlimited. There is peace, joy, and unbelievably great blessing to be found in the new life that Christ has in mind for us.

 

Yet, there is danger out there, too. Opposition comes at us from many different directions, and fear can quite suddenly drive us to seek cover and to find safety in places that we determine to be best for ourselves. Unfortunately, this can lead us back into those old, familiar ways of thinking and of acting that we have been rescued from. We stumble in life or encounter trials that seem to be too hard for us to handle and we turn back to the life patterns that had previously enslaved us. Although Paul may very well have played with a yo-yo, he did not use that expression; still, that is what this life process is like. When we are caught up in it, we move up and down and up again in a cycle of progressive and then regressive thinking and behaviors. Through His blood, Christ has granted us freedom from this uncertain and disturbing way of living. We are the ones who are doing the choosing. We can decide to embrace the freedom, or we can choose to enslave ourselves to the burden of sin. For me, Lord, take me into your freedom!

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.

Galatians 5: 1

 

There was a point to the way that God set about reconnecting with the souls of His wandering and lost children. Since He wants us all back into close contact with Him, the Lord was willing to do anything that was required to reestablish the relationship. Every one of us was born into captivity; we were sold to the slave master, Satan, by our original ancestors, and the price for our bondage was very cheap, too. All that was received was a bite of fruit and a momentary sense of false freedom and the illusion of power and control..

 

Unfortunately, I find myself trying to live in this same way, for I will set aside most of the great and valuable gifts that God has given to me as His beloved child, and I will think, say, and do things that are outside of God’s clearly stated will. In all honesty, I must admit to my capacity and capability to think, say, and do many things that are certainly not in my best interests and that do not serve to bring light to the darkness of this world. When I live like this and especially when I allow evil’s lies to settle in my heart and my mind so that I am made fearful and filled with doubt, I am effectively selling myself back into slavery.

 

At these times I need to step back into the light of God’s truth, confess the sinful aspects of my doubting nature, and open my mind to the refreshing wind of Christ’s Spirit as He sets me back on my feet and restores my understanding of His view of me as His own redeemed and completely free person. The price that Christ paid to obtain my freedom was greater than anything that I can measure or even comprehend. The freedom that God has purchased for me is complete, without condition, and applies to every aspect of my life. Thus, the Lord tells me to stop living as a slave and to stay strong in the freedom that Christ bought for me.

 

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.

Galatians 5: 1

Consider, why is freedom such a big deal to most people? What is there about freedom that is so incredibly attractive, and how is it that most of us don’t perceive that we have as much of it as we would desire? Most of us are free to decide what we are going to do with our time, our resources, and our lives. We are free to go where we want to go, to do the kind of work that we want to do, and to be with the people that we want to be around. There are very few rules or regulations that tell us what we must do or be. We have made and continue to make choices for ourselves. Still, we feel bound, constrained, and powerless. Many of us feel like we have been swept away by a powerful current so that life is sustained only as long as I can keep my head above the water and off of the rocks.

Living like this is not what God intends for us. He wants us to have a clear understanding of what freedom means to Him and for us. From the moment that our ancestors surrendered their free access to God’s presence to the empty appeal of evil, God has had a plan in place for the return of freedom to everyone who accepts it. God gave us the gift of freedom in the sacrifice of Jesus; yet, it is up to each of us to fully accept the gift, to open the package, to live in it’s grace and embrace it’s empowerment.

Freedom is the ability to love others without concern for their response. Freedom is focusing our concern on the needs of other people and not worrying about what we will get in return. Freedom is openness, honesty, compassion, vulnerability. Freedom is taking comfort and finding peace and satisfaction in Christ’s new way of living while refusing to live as we have in the past. The portrait of freedom for us is found in Jesus, and the image of freedom for those around us can be found through Christ in us.

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.

Galatians 5: 1

 

Comfort can be a hard habit to break. It is frequently a condition of the inner person that calls upon us when we are tired and troubled; for comfort brings to mind the ways that we have found personal peace and have escaped from dealing with hard times in the past. Unfortunately, the places that many of our minds call upon us to go can be bigger traps and more destructive than the momentary stresses of the current challenges.

 

When comfort takes the form of the overstuffed chair of religion, it can be very damaging to our ability to truly represent Christ. Everyone whether raised in a home where God was openly celebrated and worshiped or in one where atheism was the mantra, comes from a religious background. Then, we all continue to develop our personal concepts and ideas of who God is and of how He is to be served. Christ sets us free from all of the human devised ideas and practices that divert us from the absolutely freeing truth of God’s word; yet, most of us still continue to go back to old ways of thinking and to devising our own ideas of what God actually meant for us to believe. We continue to seek to find that comfort inside of ourselves rather than through trusting Christ to give us all that we will need.

 

In Christ we are given the freedom to be sad, to be tired, to be troubled, and to find comfort in Him. In Christ we are free to care about others regardless of who they are, what they are doing, and how they view our God. In Christ we are released from the need to serve the additional gods of tradition and practice. Freedom comes through trust and by faith in the Lord’s totally loving, superior way of viewing life, and His freedom brings all of the comfort that my weary body can ever need.

 

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.

Galatians 5: 1

 

This is an interesting choice of words on the part of Rabbi Paul. First off he submits for our consideration that we have been set free. The question would be, “Free from what?” Most people who know Christ can answer that one. We have been set free from the oppression of sin that owned us before we knew Jesus. The chains that tied our hearts and minds to the walls of a prison cell that was defined in terms like anger, lust, hatred, envy, fear and self-gain have been removed. There is a newly found lightness of step and of heart that makes the weight of this world bearable. Christ brings us out of the darkness that we have been hiding in and into the light of His truth. This is quite a lot to consider, but Paul is saying much more about this new life that we have been given.

 

It would seem that God’s purpose in setting us free is so that we would, in fact, live in freedom. Well, so? This is often the real rub when it comes to experiencing the changed life that Christ promises. Frequently people are frustrated and held down by figuratively continuing to reside in their old prison cells. It is familiar territory, feels safe, and the risk of new relationships and expectations is avoided in there. However, that room is dark, dank and oppressive. The spirit can not soar to the heights that God has promised when it is held down by a concrete ceiling. Christ wants to lead His people into the adventure of engagement with and in our world. He brings us out of an old life, and He takes us into a new one where our potential is almost unlimited. There is peace, joy, and unbelievably great blessing to be found in the new life that Christ has in mind for us.

 

Yet, there is danger out there, too. Opposition comes at us from many different directions, and fear can quite suddenly drive us to seek cover and to find safety in places that we determine to be best for ourselves. Unfortunately, this can lead us back into those old, familiar ways of thinking and of acting that we have been rescued from. We stumble in life or encounter trials that seem to be too hard for us to handle and we turn back to the life patterns that had previously enslaved us. Although Paul may very well have played with a yo yo, he did not use that expression; still, that is what this life process is like. When we are caught up in it, we move up and down and up again in a cycle of progressive and then regressive thinking and behaviors. Through His blood, Christ has granted us freedom from this uncertain and disturbing way of living. We are the ones who are doing the choosing. We can decide to embrace the freedom, or we can choose to enslave ourselves to the burden of sin. For me, Lord, take me into your freedom!