Celebrating the Fourth of July for perhaps the last two or three days made we want to take a look at the word Freedom. It is being tossed around by so many these days! “Don’t take my freedom away, I have my rights”, and other statements like that. Looking for some guidance, I turned to Google and asked for the definition. Here is what I got.
Freedom, generally, is having the ability to act or change without constraint. Something is free if it can change easily and is not constrained in its present. Interestingly enough, that completely wraps up everything Christ has done for us! He has set us free. There is only one thing left for us to do: live Galatians 5:1.
In Galatians, Paul teaches believers to love one another. He said that even though we have freedom in Christ, we should not use it as an excuse to think only of ourselves. Rather, God’s commandments could be summed up by simply loving each other instead of putting each other down.
So, freedom entails responsibility for our actions. Here are some thoughts that struck me from the definition and Galatians: We are free if we want to change? Or do we wish to live in the past and complain? Change is so difficult for most of us, and we often rather live in the familiar then change. That leads me to thinking about what Jesus freed us from. Perhaps it is fear, or the lack of trust we have in Him. He was freeing us from the old way of living, breathing new life into how we treat one another and ourselves.
If you think about it, it puts a different spin on the word freedom and how we interpret it. If we take what is written in Galatians seriously, then how do my expressions of freedom affect others? Do I solely believe that all is centered on ME? Somehow, I am sensing that we can become a very selfish people and we need to use the freedom to change in the near future. How can we accomplish this? Like all change, it starts with ourselves: we need to recreate the present, perhaps change our attitude towards freedom. Surrounding ourselves with others who are truly trying to live a solid Christian life is a step in the right direction towards freedom. Personal prayer, reflection, and community prayer are also necessary.
So what constraints are keeping you from the true freedom that Jesus speaks about? As I put away flags and clean up celebration food and decorations, how do I experience freedom in my life? Does it take into consideration others? I leave you with this quote from Thich Nhat Hanh: “Freedom is not given to us by anyone; we have to cultivate it ourselves. It is a daily practice." Just some food for thought till next week.