Galatians 5:1 – It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
This word in our military culture makes pictures of flags, homecomings, ships, helicopters, tanks, and even headstones glistening in the sun come to our mind. We talk of freedom a lot. As a group, we proudly lay claim to the “1%” – those who have served our country and preserved its freedom with no thought of themselves.
As military folks, it’s a precious commodity, one we have come to cherish because we recognize the cost. It brings to mind words like liberation, unrestricted, and rights. But truly, in all of these ideas, freedom means we’ve been freed FROM something.
There is no freedom without something before.
As Christ-followers, freedom is a part of life and of salvation. Our key verse for this year’s theme tells us “Christ has set us free.” But what has He freed us from?
He has set us free from separation; the great divide between a righteous God and a sinful man was bridged by Christ alone. With Christ as Lord, separation from God is no more. This is the most amazing of freedoms, but He has set us free from much more.
Think of all the things that have threatened to entangle you – jealousy, fear, sadness, anger, addictions, confusion, and so much more.
We have been set free.
But “freedom” doesn’t mean “free for all.”
In God’s design, freedom comes with boundaries. As much as we wish sometimes that we could just do what we wanted, the boundaries the Lord sets are done with love and care for His most precious creation and for the furtherance of His Kingdom.
Boundaries are good.
In our culture, we struggle with this very thing. As Americans, we love freedom in all its varieties, but struggle at times with where to draw lines between the freedom I want for myself and the freedoms I want to allow for you.
Example? Free speech is a wonderful thing until someone’s untrue “speech” ruins a career, tears apart a family, or brings down a man’s reputation. Freedom to say whatever we want doesn’t seem quite so fair anymore.
God figured it out long ago. He has set boundaries to our freedom as Christians, not because He wants to be restricting or hateful, but because He loves us. These boundaries give us protection, guidance, and even hope. This freedom is not a burden, it’s a privilege. We have freedom from much, but we are still expected to be obedient to the One who set us free.
In 2018 at Planting Roots, our theme will be “FREE TO BE BRAVE.” Galatians 5:1 tells us, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
We are FREE TO BE BRAVE, but we have to start here:
What are we free from?
What are the boundaries to that freedom?
Next week, we will take a look at what we have been set free to do because, truly, with freedom also comes responsibility. We are FREE TO BE BRAVE, my friends, because of the One who set us free. Be brave with me and together we will impact a world.
Questions to ponder this week:
From what has Christ set you free?
Do the boundaries of that freedom frustrate or inspire you?
Verses on which to meditate:
1 Peter 2
** You can catch the rest of the 2018 theme here!