“It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?”—Galatians 5:13 (MSG).
Freedom (noun) 1. the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint; 2. exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc. 3. the power to determine action without restraint.
Ask someone what the word means to them and you’ll most likely get an answer similar to the following: “It means doing what I want.”
As I reflected on this response, I wondered, “Is that what’s wrong with our world?” Too many people doing what they want, instead of finding true freedom in Christ and doing what the Word calls us to do: “Love others as you love yourself.”
I can’t think of any other word resonating with Americans more than the word “freedom.” Some television commercials claim purchasing their product will set you “free.” When we celebrate our country’s independence, we sing songs of freedom. Politicians know how to use the word to add weight to their campaign or cause.
Yet scripture teaches us the only truly free people in the world are those who have made Christ their Savior and Lord and Master. Jesus Christ said, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
In a book written in 1971, Pastor Wilbur Rees wrote the following: “I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please. Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine. I don’t want enough of God to make me love my enemies or pick beets with a migrant. I want ecstasy, not transformation. I want the warmth of the womb, not a new birth. I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack. I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.”
How many of us settle for $3 worth of God? Pastor Chuck Swindoll said, “We don’t want to dump God entirely, just enough to keep Him at a comfortable distance. About a sack full of the Almighty, that’ll do it. A sack full, nothing more. Just enough to keep my guilt level below the threshold of pain, to guarantee escape from eternal flames. I mean, come on, you don’t expect me to change my life, do you?”
Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).
How much of God do you want?
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