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
Have you ever been trapped somewhere? One of my earliest memories is of being in daycare, probably around age four or five, and one day finding myself stuck in the bathroom. The bathroom, which was likely quite small given that it was for just a single person, seemed overwhelmingly large as I tried to force the door open to no avail. To make matters worse, an older sibling of my best friend had informed us that our daycare had been built on an ancient Native American burial ground and was most certainly haunted. So there I was – quiet, shy, little scared-of-the-world me – stuck in a bathroom with no recourse but to scream, yell, and bang my scrunched up tiny fists on the door. It was possibly the loudest I had ever been as a toddler, at least outside of my own home. The feeling of relief that washed over me when a teacher opened the door cannot be overstated. I was saved!
When Paul penned his letter to the Galatians, they too were trapped. Trapped in the tension between the old covenant and the new. They had heard and believed Paul when he said they were justified by faith in Jesus Christ alone, but there was a sect of Jewish Christians who were insisting that these Gentile converts abide by certain ceremonial practices and rituals found in what we know as the Old Testament*. Paul urges them to stand firm in what he has told them and to not allow themselves to be burdened or led astray by believing that they must somehow earn their salvation by works, ceremonies, or rites. He admonishes them to remain in the freedom of Christ and to not return to a yoke of slavery once more.
It has been centuries upon centuries since Paul wrote this but, much like the Galatians, I often find myself enslaved to thought patterns and habits that run entirely counter to the Word of God and the freedom offered in Christ.
- I, too, try to earn a good standing before God, even though my debt has been paid. (Ephesians 2:8)
- I battle anxiety and worry about the future, even though God has declared that He will care for me. (Matthew 6:25-34)
- I strive for bigger and better, even though I know the truth that godliness with contentment is great gain. (1 Timothy 6:6)
- I live in the tension between knowing the Truth and yet putting more stock in my emotions instead of the Word of God. (Psalm 119:89)
I become weighed down again and again with fear, worry, and self, and, all the while Jesus is whispering, calling me back into the rest, joy, and care of His presence. Maybe you find yourself in this situation as well, with areas of your life in which you feel trapped, tangled up, or stuck in a muck of lies. If that is you, remind yourself this week of this truth: Christ died to SET.US.FREE! We can rejoice in this and trust that it is true, no matter how we feel.
Let’s draw near to Jesus, linger in His presence, and let Him speak truth over our hearts. May we find healing, peace, and true freedom for our souls that only He can bring. Let’s live as those who have been set FREE! I am praying for you this week, friends!
11984, Zondervan NIV Study Bible, Zondervan, Grand Rapids MI, 2002, p1819
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