For you were called to be free, brothers and sisters.…use this freedom as an opportunity...to serve one another through love. (Galatians 5:13 CSB)
Freedom never comes without a price tag. As in history past, thousands of men and women sacrifice everyday so we can experience earthly freedom: freedom to worship, freedom to speak, freedom to work, and freedom to lead. Earthly freedom encompasses a diverse array of venues by which you and I can exercise autonomy with minimal threat. But the problem is, earthly freedom ultimately breeds self-reliance and self-edification, feeding our natural bent towards self. When the focus is on self, we can easily sink into sin’s cesspool of comparison, competition, and jealously. Other people’s successes begin to threaten us. Their giftedness births jealousy in our hearts.
God takes freedom to a whole new level. His freedom also came with a cost- the sacrificial death of God’s only Son, Jesus. Because of what Jesus did, you and I now have direct access to God, our Creator and Sustainer. John 8:36 solidifies God’s take on the subject: “If the Son sets you free, you WILL be free.” And no one and no thing can ever take this freedom away from you.
Unlike earthly freedom, heaven’s freedom is a gift from God and it cannot be earned. You and I can’t puff up our resumes with enough accomplishments, accolades, or achievements. We can’t be nice enough, give of our finances, or offer good deeds in order to possess it. We must simply believe and embrace God’s gift through Jesus. He paid full price for our freedom. There is no opportunity to fall into Satan’s trap of self. God gets full glory and honor for His gift of freedom.
In today’s verse, God shares His purpose behind this gift of freedom. In His love, you and I are free to serve each other. It’s a hard task and almost impossible to maintain via human efforts. Placing others before oneself goes totally against seeking to self-satisfy. But God wants more from us; His loving nature, living inside us, manifested and expressed outwardly to those who cross our paths every day.
Spending quality time with Jesus and His Word nurtures our gift of heavenly freedom. We cannot spend time with Jesus and walk away unchanged. Therefore, God’s love within us naturally spills over and affects anyone nearby. You and I can model before the hurting world what “living love” looks like, what true freedom really means.
For a country so well known for its freedom, we sadly continue to see many folks in bondage emotionally, physically, financially, relationally, and/or spiritually. God offers something so much more…lasting freedom through Christ. It’s ours for the asking. It’s ours to share with others.
Scripture references from NIV unless otherwise noted.
Based on Freedom from Our Self on December 29th, 2018 - Watch Sermon