“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13 ESV).
I remember longing for the day that I would be an adult. I wanted the freedom to do as I pleased, make my own decisions, be my own person. There were times I saw childhood, and particularly puberty, as a prison that kept me from the good things that I was “too small” or “too young” to enjoy. Like staying up late. Or driving. Or eating ice cream for breakfast.
As I got older I began to realize that as we mature we really just exchange one prison for another. When I was a child I had no job claiming my time, no bills to pay, no lawn to be mowed, and no hungry teenage mouths to feed. And now, as an adult, I have all of those things (except the teenage mouths; my kids are no longer teens!).
And then there’s sin. We were once in bondage to sin; everything we did was nothing but sin (See Independence Day). The weight of the world is on our shoulders, until we meet Jesus. He softly whispers that He will meet our needs (Philippians 4:19); He will carry our burdens (Matthew 11:28). He sets us free to focus on Him!
As free individuals in Christ, God takes us and joins us to Himself, and together we make up the Body of Christ, the Church. We are no longer just individuals, but we are part of something much greater. As such, we must consider the welfare of the other members of the Body of Christ. That’s why Paul reminds us, “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13 ESV).
Indeed, we are free! But from what are we free? We are freed from the necessity to be concerned about our own welfare. We have His assurances that He’s got our six (He’s watching our backs). We are free to set our concern on the needs and welfare of others. Blessed to be a blessing.
I personally spent far too many years thinking about myself, even after becoming a Christian. I have been set free in Christ. I am free to make my own decisions. And I choose to use my freedom to serve.