ODJ: Freedom of Speech

December 18, 2018 

READ: Galatians 5:13-26 

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

In the minutes leading up to a difficult conversation, my mind was racing. When I chose to pray, however, and to consider how I could apply biblical principles to the situation, my thoughts shifted. I recognised it wasn’t the other person I needed to be concerned about, it was me. For if I spoke to the person in the state I had been in, I would probably cast blame, speak defensively and intensify unhealthy emotions.

But as I prayed and let Scripture—instead of worry—fill my mind, by God’s grace my heart steadied. In advance of the conversation, I meditated on the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and discovered that as I let the words “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” replay in my mind, calmness settled in.

I spoke to the other person respectfully and received a similar response. The outcome was far better than I could have predicted because we both chose to let the Spirit, not our sinful nature—greed, envy, quarrelling, selfish ambition, dissension and division (vv.19-20)—guide our conversation.

In Galatians 5 the apostle Paul explained that God has called believers to live in freedom (v.13). I find this interesting because according to one dictionary definition, freedom is “the power to act, speak or think without externally imposed restraints”. According to this definition, we could assume it’s acceptable to say whatever we want to whoever we want without negative consequences.

Paul points us to the biblical freedom we can enjoy when we’re guided by the Spirit—walking humbly, not provoking others and turning from jealousy (vv.25-26). Praise God for the freedom we enjoy through His Spirit.

—Roxanne Robbins

365-day plan: Hebrews 12:1-13

Read James 1:19 and consider its instruction on how to interact with others. 
What does freedom in the Holy Spirit mean to you? How can you rely on the Spirit when you need to have a difficult conversation with someone?