ODJ: free to live the truth

May 7, 2014 

READ: Galatians 5:13-26  

You have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters (v.13).

When my son Wyatt was 10, we drove past a well known burger chain. “Dad”, Wyatt said, “I don’t like it that the commercials make the fast-food places look all joyful and happy. And then you go there and they’re sad and dirty.” Then he said, “And the bathrooms are nasty.”

Wyatt has discovered that not everything is as it seems. What we’re told may not in fact be the true story. In the bulk of Paul’s letter to the church in Galatia, he encouraged the believers there to embrace the fact that Jesus’ power and life—secured on the cross and sealed by His resurrection—come as gifts of grace, not out of our works. We must know this: We do not create our righteousness. We’re righteous because Jesus Christ has determined to love us. We are loved. We are free. Full stop.

True freedom, however, doesn’t mean we’ve cast off all responsibilities and no longer need to consider what it means to live a life that exhibits goodness. Freedom comes as a gift, but we can make the foolish choice to surrender our freedom. Then we can become enslaved to whims and passions, addictions and trivial selfishness. We can, in fact, “destroy one another”, if we don’t intensely guard our freedom and love others well (Galatians 5:15).

To guard our freedom we need the Holy Spirit’s wisdom and work. We must say “No!” to the old life (the flesh). We must commit to boldly love one another. We must courageously embrace the truth that we “who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of [our] sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there” (v.24).

The question isn’t whether or not Jesus has truly made us free. Rather, will we squander the freedom we’ve so lavishly been given? —Winn Collier

365-day plan› Esther 6:1-7:10

Read Ephesians 2:4-10 and consider what it reveals about God’s grace and our salvation. 
How do you need the Holy Spirit to release you from bondage to the old ways of the flesh? Why is it important that the Holy Spirit provides both freedom from sin and conviction of it?