At Union Presbyterian Church, we have been studying Galatians, which is all about Christian freedom. Some people might think Christian freedom is paradoxical, but since Aristotle, freedom really has not meant the freedom to do whatever we want whenever we want. Freedom means the freedom to become ourselves. We are freed to do something, not freed to do nothing.
This is why the Bible frequently describes the sinful life as slavery, as Paul does in Romans 6:20 when he writes, “We were slaves to sin,” and as John 8:34 quotes Jesus: “Everyone who sins is a slave.”
This is also one of the reasons the Israelites’ gaining their freedom from captivity in Egypt was such a turning point. They were finally free to worship God; they were free to use their time and energy to become who they were created to be. They, like us, were created in God’s image; rescued from slavery, they became free to live into that image as children of God. They, like me, had varying levels of success on that point.
Christians are free to worship God, free to live showing the fruits of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. This is the goal, because it is what Christ was like.
We are trying, as His disciples, to live as He did. Again, I do that with varying degrees of success. But it is my goal and the goal of all Christians to live as Jesus showed us, to live freely. We are set free to do and be something different from what we were. God never does anything so that we can sit around and bask in the wonderful blessedness that is our lives, but He does for us so that we might do toward others. Even in Abraham’s life, he was blessed in order to be a blessing. So we followers of Christ are set free, not to do whatever we want, but to live our lives with God to His glory.
There is freedom in Jesus, freedom from addictions and sinful habits, but also the freedom to love our enemies, the freedom to celebrate a co-worker’s success, the freedom to live a life that pleases God. Christianity isn’t about shackles and rules. Ultimately it is about a personal relationship with the God who loves us so much that He freely gave His life to set us free from sin and to worship Him in gratitude and love.
You were created in God’s image. He rejoiced when He created you. Maybe it’s time to give back to Him of yourself, freely.
The Rev. David Moore is pastor of Union Presbyterian Church of Los Altos, 858 University Ave. For more information, call 948-4361 or visit unionpc.org.