“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery…
“You were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself…’
“I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. The desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these… But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
“If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 5:1,13-14,16-25a
The open air and mountains call. We cherish freedom, and clamor for it when we sense it being restricted. Our flesh craves freedom, to do what it wants and satisfy its hungers. Christ Jesus died on the cross to win for us a good and godly freedom, His death and resurrection setting us free from the restrictions and requirements of the law and consequent slavery and compulsion of sin. But it is our natural inclination to abuse and misuse this freedom. Only the harnessing of the Holy Spirit sets and holds the right parameters for His gracious gift of freedom to flourish to His glory and others’ good.
For the Christian, all freedom has boundaries inherent in the boundless. Once we belong to Christ we are not free to return to our old life because all has been made new. We may be tempted to serve the devil but we have a new Master. We may loiter at the fence of the old life and feel drawn to cross over to that former realm, but our citizenship has been transferred and we own a fresh identity. These are true truths that both bind us and keep us free. (Hosea 1:10; John 8:36; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Philippians 3:20; 1 Peter 2:10)
Allelujah! We are free to say no to pestering doubt, jealousy, idolatry, and selfishness! Praise the Lord! We are free to adventure in love and service, to extend mercy and give generously! Through the power of Christ’s Spirit, we can resist spiritual lethargy, vain pursuits, and dishonoring indulgences. In Him we can get in step with Jesus’s stride and bring forth the Spirit’s fruit. Yielding to His pulls and leading, we will find ourselves enjoying the broad place of freedom that is enclosed by grace within His good, pleasing, and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2)
Where has my freedom lured me off track? In what situations am I resisting the Spirit’s harness? Would I this day choose to make the most of my ability to love and serve my Lord?
Spirit, bridle all my affections and inclinations that I may not sin, but freely glorify You and serve Your world.