When I bought my first car as a Teen I experienced what FREEDOM truly feels like! I loved it! My Hyundai Pony cost me $500 and was rusting apart really quickly, but my agile rear-wheel drive piece of heaven got me on the road where ever I wanted to go whenever I wanted to go there! I thought I finally knew what freedom really was. That is, until I accepted Jesus. Then, I truly knew what freedom felt like. But the freedom I found in Jesus was also different than I thought it should be – it made me really nervous. How does a person live without something (like rules, or point form do’s and don’ts) to keep them in check and on the right path?
When we choose to believe in Jesus we engage in a relationship with God. There are no New Testament Commandments to obey. Instead, there is a relationship to grow. But, honestly, I’m a fan of rules and guidelines. It’s true that I sometimes like to break rules, but they also keep me focused and heading in the right direction. The lack of rules made me really nervous because I felt that I didn’t have a way to measure my performance/lifestyle. How would I know if I were doing a good job at being a Christian if I couldn’t measure my behaviour against something?
In our inductive study on Galatians 5:1-12 we learn What It Means To Live Free As A Christian.
Here’s what living free means…
1. We grow our relationship with God
The freedom we have as Believers is the freedom of friendship. We are free to live as a child and a friend of God without having to fear that God’s getting set to judge us. In healthy relationships rules are never foremost – love always comes first.
When our focus is to grow our friendship with God we’re really satisfying any rule that someone might want to make. While we’re focused on friendship we’re not focused on breaking God’s heart.
2. We grow in our relationships with Others
Jesus summarized the entire Old Testament Law with two laws of His own: 1) Love God, 2) Love your neighbour as yourself. If I’m trying to grow in my expression of love for my neighbour my focus will satisfy any rules that someone may want to make up. If I’m truly loving my neighbour then I’m not stealing, or lying, or cheating, or coveting… unless He had an awesome motorcycle, then I may still covet a little. The point is that the path of love satisfies the goal of restrictive rules. Rules are meant to protect people from harm, and love is meant to only benefit another person.
When our second focus is to grow in our love for the people around us we’re satisfying any potential rules that we may think need to exist.
3. Die to Self-Righteousness
When I was younger I really wanted someone to summarize the Bible for me in simple “do” and “don’t” sentences so that I knew what I had to do as a Christian. I felt that if I had a cheat sheet then I’d be off to a better start. But, a list of “do” and “don’t” sentences doesn’t work – most of the Old Testament proves that to us.
I need to remind myself quite regularly that I do not have the will power to follow a list. I’m just not good enough to measure up to a set of rules. I know that I can never be too proud with my behaviour. I was a rule breaker before Jesus, and I’m still a rule breaker now that I’ve chosen to believe in Jesus. The only change in me is the presence of the Holy Spirit applying salvation to me and changing me into Jesus’ image.
Living Free means to be living within a growing relationship. Paul summarizes Living Free with this phrase, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love” (Gal 5:6) [TWEET IT]. So, for you and I to live free we need to express our faith by growing in our love for God and others.
Watch It Now:
To further engage you can watch the 8 minute inductive devotional, and/or you can see how I came to my conclusions by watching the longer inductive study.
7 Minute Inductive Devotional
21 Minute Inductive Study
Join the Conversation!
Your comments help make these better. So, please leave a comment and let me know what’s useful, what’s not, and what you’d like to see that would serve you better. Thanks!