In this day and age, the word freedom is used to justify anything wrong and reckless that we do. You ask a bunch of young teenagers why they are doing drugs and they say that they are young, free, and that they can do whatever they like. Homosexuals are fighting for their freedom too- being able to marry whoever they want. Young unmarried couples live together because they think it’s okay and furthermore, no one prohibits it. One thing is for sure though, this an ungodly freedom.
Many people think that there is no freedom to be found in Christ because they are just a bunch of rules to follow; and apparently there is no freedom in that. But the thing is, the law of God is there to protect us from unnecessary heartaches and pain.
David beautifully wrote about the law of God in Psalm 19:7-11. “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.”
David wasn’t perfect, he had his issues, but he also knew the beauty and the freedom found in walking in the law of God. Today, we are focusing on Galatians chapter 5.
In Galatians 5, Paul starts off by saying “Freedom is what we have — Christ has set us free! Stand, then, as free people, and do not allow yourselves to become slaves again.” You might be a slave and not know it. How? You can be slave to money. You can be slave to pornography. You can be slave to wanting people’s attention. You can be slave to people’s acceptance. And most of us are slaves to our own sinful flesh. Just because something feels right, we want to do it, even though we know it’s not the godly thing to do.
Paul knew that the word freedom would be taken out of context and that people would use it as an excuse to do whatever they want to satisfy their flesh; that’s why he ends the chapter with this title “Life by the Spirit”, from verse 13 to 24.
In verse 13, he reiterates the point he made at the beginning. “We were called to be free.” But to avoid any confusion, he quickly adds, (a big, big *BUT* coming), “BUT do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh”. We had to see this one coming right? If we call ourselves Christian and if we really love God why in the world would we act like others who don’t know God? If we are committed followers of Christ, there has to be a difference between us and the unbelievers. And please, before I go any further, know this, we don’t do the “works” do gain God’s love or to buy ourselves into getting into heaven (For by *grace* you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9)
Yes, works won’t get us to heaven but that doesn’t mean that they are not important. Works show that we are not living for ourselves, but that we are living for our Someone, and that someone is Jesus.
Here are few reasons why the works are important:
Matthew 5:16 “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
1 Peter 2: 12 (MSG) “Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when He arrives.”
Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
James 2:26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.”
John 14:15 ““If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
Matthew 7:21:23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
But how do we do the good works with our sinful flesh, Lord? By simply *walking by the Spirit*. This is truly the only way to NOT satisfy our flesh. Galatians 5:16-17 “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For 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.”
God, we humbly pray, please, teach us how to walk by the Spirit. Lord, please, always remind us that faith without works is dead. We thank You father, for Your discipline.
I think we are all have a basic idea of what we ought not do. That’s why in verse 19, Paul starts by saying, “now the works of the flesh are evident” but still he goes on to list what we ought not to do… “sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God”. 19-21
Those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
When we walk with the spirit, we not only have freedom in Christ, but we also inherit the Kingdom of God.
We need to understand that we have to fight for our freedom in Christ. But let me explain what I mean by that. 1 Peter 5:8 says “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith…” The devil is going around looking for someone to devour everyday, so it’s my understanding that we need to fight him with the Word. The same way Jesus did in the wilderness. Jesus fought the devil with the Word. Every time the devil tempted him to do something, He responded, “It is written…”
I wish we knew the power of memorizing Scripture. “And for the disciples of Christ, this Scripture Memorization isn’t a a one-time hurtle — but a life-long habit. A way of living to live the Way of Christ.” ~Ann Voskamp
We fight the devil by quoting scriptures, by saying no to his dirty lies.
Whenever the devil tells us that our neighbors’ life is better than ours, instead of being envious we could say, “It is written God alone know the plans He has for me, plans to bring me prosperity and not disaster, plans to bring about the future I hope for. Jeremiah 29:11” I might have not have what my neighbor has but God still have an awesome plan for me as well. So, there is need to feel envious towards anybody.
Some people don’t see how they can attain the freedom in Christ after all they have done in their past. Some people have a hard time grasping the beauty of the cross. God graciously gives beauty for ashes. Isaiah 61:3. But we need to understand that this is an exchange. We need to give him the ashes first. I dare you to give Him your ashes( your past mistakes) and see what He is capable of. In the words of Tenth Avenue North:
You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.
Jesus didn’t die for us to live in self-pity. He died so we can have freedom in Him. Self-pity is the devil’s lies. We always need to remind ourselves this: I’m always loved and God is always GOOD.
Dear heavenly Father, please always remind us to fight the good fight of faith. Remind us to stand firm in the faith. Please, explain further to our hearts this truth: real freedom is found in obeying Your commandments. And that’s the only way You told us to show that we love You. May Your glory overtake us Lord. And may we live to always obey You, heavenly Father. We thank You for always hearing us. Thank You! Forever grateful for ALL You are, Lord!