"You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love." -Galatians 5:13
Happy 4th of July everyone! This is one of my favorite times of the year. The sun is usually out in full force, picnic and cookout foods abound, and fireworks encourage me to get out and enjoy the glorious summer nights.
It's on this holiday that we as Americans celebrate our freedom as a nation, and the many freedoms that come with the privilege of living in this country. I am so thankful for those freedoms, and for the many men and women who have given their lives over the years that we may obtain and continue to maintain that freedom.
There seems to be something in all of us that craves freedom. We celebrate it as a nation, and we long for it in our personal lives. In fact, the Bible is full of people who were looking for freedom, and nations who God lead to freedom.
All of this, though, pales in comparison to our ultimate freedom, which is found only through Jesus Christ. Our sin debt was our ultimate enslavement, and with it the guilt, shame, and separation from God that only aided to the bondage of our souls.
As children of God, we can rejoice that Jesus paid the debt for our sins (John 3:16). When we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, we are forgiven of our sins, and our relationship with God is restored (Romans 10:9-10). What an amazing gift! And now that we have been set free, Scripture tells us to use our freedom wisely.
In a nation of freedoms, and in a relationship with the living God who provides our ultimately freedom, we can forget that while we are free, it doesn't mean we should be free to do whatever we want. Paul clamps down on this point so well in Galatians 5 (I'd encourage you to read the whole chapter if you get a chance today). In verse 13, we're told to not use our freedom to indulge the flesh, but to serve one another.
In our freedom, we can get self-centered very quickly. We are free, but so many others are not. While our fellow Americans may enjoy the freedoms of our country, they are still spiritually in bondage, looking for hope. When they see us, may they not see self-centered Christians who are quick to give others a list of rules to follow. Let them see a person who has been genuinely set free and willing to extend a hand to help them experience that same freedom. And let us, as Paul continues to say in verse 13, to do so in love.
Freedom is a priceless gift, but it comes with responsibility. Let us use our freedom to benefit others this holiday weekend, and may we never forget that freedom is not free. It wasn't free for our country, and it wasn't free for our salvation. Let our set-free lives be lived in honor of those who paid the price for us, and to point to the only One who can set us free for all eternity.
Until Next Time,
P.S. I'd love to hear your 4th of July plans! Let me know in the comments below.