July 3, 2019

Freedom is not about doing everything that comes to mind . . .

This day has no appointments, extra chores, or anything that will keep me from doing what I hope to do. My hubby is in a golf tournament that serves a big dinner at the end of it so I don’t even need to make supper. So far, it looks like a free day, unusual but welcome. However, the Lord has a word for my expectations and my definition of freedom.

In Christ I am free to live without fear of condemnation. That does not mean I can do anything that pops into my head. Some of those thoughts are from the Holy Spirit but some of them are from the flesh, my old sinful nature. God uses experiences of life and His Word to teach me the difference:

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

God speaks through the Bible to show me where my ideas and motivations come from. Experience verifies what He says. His Word can be relied on to help me live the way He wants me to live.

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. (Galatians 5:13–15)

The amazing freedom God gives is not to be abused. That is, it is not for that sinful nature. I cannot indulge my flesh with the excuse that I am free to do so. While all sin is forgiven, His grace is not license to sin!

These verses from Galatians are specific to relationships with other Christians. We are to love one another, not bite (hurt or harm) or devour (consume or waste) one another. The idea of biting comes from a word that means to personally harm someone. Devour is from a word that means to eat up or destroy completely. This seems extreme, but I’m thinking that just ignoring people can be destructive too.

Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 9:19, “For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.” He was willing to serve non-believing people that he might win them to faith in Christ. This is a challenge so serving other Christians ought to be easy because Christ lives in them — serving them is serving Him — yet it is sometimes a challenge as well!

Jesus, I’m not sure what lies ahead this day. Already a text message popped up from an attention-starved friend. I need to call the income tax people who made a pricey error on my account and write a final letter to a child I sponsor that is moving and dropping out of the Compassion program. For these things, I need Your grace to take care of them in love, not as duty or with annoyance. With Paul, I am thinking this free day will turn into a serving day. Grant me the grace to anticipate serving as much as I looked forward to the freedom You give!

Today’s thankful list . . .
All people issues are blessed when God is helping me.
The income tax guy on the phone not only explained the error but is sending me a fat refund!
One quilt label ready to sew on and another quilt ready to quilt, both for charity.
Lovely music all day, no commercials just gospel instrumentals.
Energy and drive to get a host of ‘details’ done and off my too long to-do list.
God’s smile.
Fresh veggies.
Peace in my heart.

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