Daily Devotion, 5-5-2020

Pastor: Connie Belmore

Called to Be Free
Reading:
Galatians 5:13-24

Key Verse: You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. Galatians 5:13

I remember as a child learning about freedom when my older brother and sister would tell me not to do something and I would say, “It’s a free country”! My mom would then say, “Your freedom ends where my nose begins!” I learned quickly that I am free as long as my freedom doesn’t infringe upon other people’s freedom. Over the past several weeks, some of our freedoms have been taken away from us as a result of COVID-19. We can’t eat out, congregate in our church, and visit loved ones in assisted living or skilled nursing facilities. These were all things that we were free to do before the virus invaded our country. And it is for our own welfare as well as the welfare of others.

In today’s scripture reading, Paul describes to the Galatians and to us today what freedom is like in the life of the Christian. He informs us that we have been called to freedom but the freedom is not to just give ourselves over to self-indulgence and do anything we want to do and to appeal only to our fleshly desires. Rather, Paul suggests that true freedom comes when we love our neighbors as we love ourselves. We are able to love selflessly when we are led by the Spirit rather than live by the Law. Paul goes on to list seventeen self-indulgences but ensures we all understand that this list is not all inclusive by concluding his sentence to include “other things like these”. Paul then lists nine things that are evidence of fruitfulness that result from a Spirit led life and the very first one is love. Love is the first step to freedom. When our focus is on loving and serving God and others, we will experience freedom and fruitfulness through indescribable love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. We know that we have responded to God’s call when we live in the Spirit and are free from being under the Law’s authority.

Have you been feeling freedom despite the restrictions that have been placed on us as a result of COVID-19? If you and I can think of others before ourselves, doesn’t it make it easier to do those things such as social distancing, wearing masks and gloves and staying at home? Focusing on self only leads to a life of never being satisfied, but when we live for God and live in God’s Spirit, then we cannot help but love others and understand what it means to be truly free. Don’t you want to be free from the law, and freed by God through love, to love and for love?

Dear God, thank you for sending us your Son who through his selfless acts on the cross, gave us the gift of being free from the law. Help us to realize this freedom is truly experienced when we allow your Spirit to work in us and through us to lead us to a life of loving and serving others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 
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