I could go on forever about things I love about our church, like how the beautiful women who used to babysit me and even my dad now get to hold and be a part of my children's lives, but the thing that I am most thankful for these days is the heart of our pastor and his commitment to preach the word of God.
He has been teaching through Galatians these last few weeks and it has been challenging me daily as I think over what he has been drawing out. Mostly, the whole concept of freedom.
Over and over we have been encouraged to watch out for the two enemies of freedom. Legalism and Lawlessness.
Galatians 5:1~ It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
Galatians 5:13b~ only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
I think these hit home especially hard for me as I can see them both regularly creeping up in my life. Legalism is a direct affront to the grace of God. Galatians 2:21~....if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died needlessly". There is absolutely nothing we can do to make ourselves righteous before the Holy God. Any attempt to do so makes us guilty of attempting to water down the all sufficient sacrifice of Christ. How I dress, speak, eat, live does not make me any more worthy of salvation then anyone else.
But then we swing to lawlessness. We see it all the time. We see it because we DO it! Because I am free in Christ, does that mean I can do anything I want? Listen to whatever music I choose, watch that tv show I know promotes sinfulness, dress in whatever fashion I choose? I guess that depends on your view of freedom.
Galatians 2:20~ I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
The truth is, there is no "free zone". Anytime we choose to live how "we want to live" because "we're free to do whatever we want", we choose to be slaves to sin. When I choose to live for Christ, my choices reflect my love for Him. I choose to dress, speak and live in a certain way, not because I'm bound by law, but because I'm in love with my Savior and I can't bear breaking His heart. How I wish that was true of me every moment of every day!
Obviously these play a role in our big, life changing decisions, but how do we allow them to shape our every day lives? First of all, it looks VERY different for different people. It shows up in little areas we not have even considered. I found that the main reason I was holding onto not getting my ears pierced was some warped sense of legalism and pride, something I wanted no part of. Focus on looking at your own life.
Please encourage me as you can to not run in either incorrect direction, but to joyfully rest in the grace of God and to live a life of love. I'll try and encourage the same in you!