Galatians 5:1, 13-25
Whenever we consider the Christian understanding of freedom, often we first think of freedom as a hopeful escape from something. I'd really like to be free from worry, bills, and the traffic light that seems to stay red much longer than necessary. We even have amazing biblical stories of freedom from: the Hebrews freed from slavery, or Paul freed from prison. For certain, the life of faith affords a release from that which binds us.
To balance the conversation about freedom, we are also invited to ponder that which we are freed to do or be. Christ didn't only free us from sin and death, but through his death and resurrection we are freed to live in hope and confidence that our lives will reflect his. Paul sums up a couple of ways that we are freed to: Serve one another and keep in step the Spirit.
We are freed to let our light shine before others so that God will be glorified... so that others might believe and experience the freedom. We are sanctified by the Spirit who frees us to live for the sake of God and others. Perhaps, then, we are freed with God for the world.
Pondering Paul's commission of freedom to live by the Spirit, we may ask ourselves, "What have I been freed from in Christ and to what have I been freed?"
By your love and grace, O Lord, unbind us and renew us with the freedom that comes through Christ Jesus. Amen.
Galatians 5:1, 13-25 (NRSV)
1 For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
13 For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another.
14 For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
15 If, however, you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.
16 Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh.
17 For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want.
18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law.
19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness,
20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions,
21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness,
23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.
24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.