Happy July! On this day in 1776 Congress voted to declare independence from Great Britain’s tyrannical king, George III. Two days later, on July 4th, the adoption of the Declaration of Independence was commemorated and has been celebrated in the United States ever since. Freedom fighters fought long and hard, blood was spilled, lives lost so we could live in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
I’ve been thinking a lot about freedom, freedom fighters and what it is to be a people who live free. I keep going back to this verse…
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1 NIV)
What does it mean to live truly free? Jesus’ whole mission was an operation of liberation. People were living under a heavy yoke of oppression with no hope of ever being able to live out the law. Besides that, the Pharisees kept adding to their load making the weight of it unbearable. We don’t begin to have enough space to talk about the Gentiles and their issues.
Jesus is the ultimate freedom fighter whose death lifted that yoke by fulfilling the law. Jews (and the Gentiles who thought part of following Christ was following Jewish law) were no longer under this laborious load of impossible rules and regulations. He had a new way, His way.
What does it mean to stay free? You would think that we would bask in this burden free way of living but as Timothy Keller says, our freedom is fragile and can slip from our grasp. (Galatians for You) Jesus brought with him a message so foreign, so unfamiliar to them (and us?) that I’m sure at times it was easier to slip that yoke back on. At least they knew the feel of it, heavy as it was. Anybody else go back to a comfort zone for the sake of the familiar?
But Paul says we have to stand firm against going back there. Living under the yoke of the law (spiritual) or the bondage of sin (physical/mental) are both enslaved ways to live and is the very thing Christ freed us from.
I sat down yesterday afternoon (this was not originally today’s scheduled post but it won’t leave me alone so here you go.) and came up with a list of what walking as free people in Christ looks like.
FREE PEOPLE…are forgiven
- and forgiving
- live loved
- aren’t controlled by the past
- or scared by the future
- laugh more
- rebel against the establishment (Jesus was a rebel!)
- aren’t chained to bitterness or resentment
- aren’t afraid
- aren’t easily offended
- see beauty in the broken and worth in the wounded
- are for the outcasts, misfits and least of these
- don’t judge
- are dangerous to some (the Pharisees who don’t like free)
- aren’t afraid to speak the truth
- let go
- don’t harbor, hoard or hate
- don’t manipulate
- be self-controlled not controlling of others
- listen long
- simmer slow
- love the unlovely
- know their worth
- give more
- don’t take anything for granted
- appreciate differences
- don’t feel the need to always be heard
- breathe easier
- sleep better
- are kinder, gentler beings
- know meek ain’t weak
- love lavishly
…just to name a few!
Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you. (Galatians 5:1 MSG)
Be a freedom fighter. Bust out, be brave, live free!
Feel free (see what I did there) to add your thoughts on what living free in Christ looks like in the comments section below.