ODJ: True Freedom

September 21, 2018 

READ: Galatians 5:7-14 

You have been called to live in freedom. . . .But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, . . . serve one another in love” (v.13).

Recently, I looked up a few of the definitions for the word freedom in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Freedom, one definition suggested, is “the absence of necessity, coercion or constraint in choice or action”. It can also mean “a political right”.

The word freedom has positive connotations. We want to be free from restraints and constraints, from that which keeps us down, from the violence and oppression doled out by tyrannical governmental regimes.

But some of us long for freedom from our responsibilities—so we can do what we want, when we want to do it. I’ve even heard people say they sometimes wish they weren’t married or didn’t have children so they could live life unencumbered—as if an unencumbered life is a positive thing.

Jesus tells us that in Him we find true freedom. He says that if He has set us free, then we are truly free (John 8:36). Through His death on the cross for our sins and His resurrection Jesus has set us free from the wages of sin, death and from slavery to sin (see Romans 6:23, 8:3).

The apostle Paul emphasises this idea of freedom in Christ, but also tells each of us how we are to use it. He says you’ve “been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters”, but not to “use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love” (Galatians 5:13).

We’re never to use our freedom to harm ourselves or others or to free ourselves from the responsibility of loving others. Freedom in Christ allows us to creatively love God with everything we have and to love our neighbours as ourselves (Matthew 22:36-40).

—Marlena Graves

365-day plan: John 18:1-24

Reflect on the meaning of 2 Corinthians 3:17. 
Compare and contrast society’s definition of “freedom” with Scripture’s. How can we live out our freedom by His guidance?