We celebrate our freedom as a nation this weekend, freedom that brave men and women have died to defend and protect. Any of you reading this who have served or have family members that have placed themselves in harm’s way to defend our beloved freedom, let me say a heartfelt thank you!
Here’s the thing, though: What we choose to do with that freedom is up to us. And even more important, what we do with the freedom we receive in Christ is also up to us. Here’s what Paul writes on this topic of freedom:
“It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows.” Galatians 5:13-14 (MSG)
Paul counsels us to use our freedom in a very counter-cultural way. Instead of using our freedom for our own gain and as an excuse to do whatever we want, he challenges us to serve one another humbly in love. Wow, talk about going against our human nature! I think about times in my life when I didn’t use my freedom in a positive way, like when I was so excited to leave my parents’ home and begin my life as an adult. On my own. Oh, sweet freedom!
Yet as some of you may have experienced in your own journey, that newfound freedom wasn’t always so sweet. I made mistakes. I stumbled. I fell down. I listened to the lies of the world, and some of my poor decisions to do whatever I wanted to do simply because I could came at a cost.
Selfishness really doesn’t make you feel warm and fuzzy inside.
It took me some time to get there, but through all the ups and downs I discovered that serving others is where my greatest joy is found.
This week the whole pandemic thing has hit me hard. I have felt lost. I have been down. I haven’t been rejoicing in the freedom I have in Christ. If I’m totally honest, I’ve felt overwhelmed at times and sorry for myself.
I’ve been wrestling with these feelings and trying to figure out what’s going on with me, and today the Holy Spirit showed me that my unrest is completely tied to this verse.
Here’s the deal, I feel the most alive when I am pouring into others and serving through speaking and singing at events. When I can share how God’s love has radically changed my life, I come alive. It’s my happy place!
The pandemic has shut down all of those live events, so everything I do now is virtual. I am so grateful for the technology that makes that possible, but honestly, it doesn’t feel the same. I don’t get to interact with people, only a screen.
I am grieving my ability to serve people face-to-face.
Maybe your world looks completely different right now and you’re struggling too, my friend. If you are, I feel your pain.
But the Spirit is also showing me something really cool as I’ve been wrestling with this. He has affirmed that my serving simply looks different right now. Yes, it’s virtual, not live, but I’m still serving. And the truth is, people need to hear hope and encouragement now more than ever because many are anxious and afraid. So as you celebrate our nation’s freedom this weekend, I challenge you to take a moment and think about your eternal freedom as well. Are you letting the freedom you have in Christ be an excuse to do whatever you want, or are you using that freedom to serve others and help freedom grow? Loving others is, indeed, the purest act of freedom; and that’s exactly the life God has called each of us to.
Let’s choose how we use our freedom! Hugs and love, Jill