I am free from slavery so I can become a slave
Galatians 5:13 : For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. (New Living Translation)
Straight out of high school I did a couple of jobs where I spent way too much time looking at the clock, hoping it would time to stop doing the utterly boring work I was trapped in. My aim since then is to do work where yes I look at the clock, but find myself instead thinking, ‘oh that time already?’
What stands out about those mind numbingly boring jobs was that I felt trapped. I couldn’t leave as I had bills to pay, and I found that very hard. When this awesome passage talks about For you have been called to live in freedom it is talking about freedom from slavery, the bond to a master, being forced to serve in circumstances that are harsh and restrictive. And that freedom isn’t from a boring or harsh job, but from being trapped by the old law. And for me this means that when I gave my life to Jesus, I stepped out of my old ways, my old practices – a life determined by the world and dominated by sin. Through Jesus’ death on the cross I am free! So what do I do with that freedom? Just smile and keep on with my life as I choose?
This is where the passage really speaks massively to me.
It tells me to avoid slavery, being trapped again and it tells me to seek to be a slave, trapped again.
But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. I am to as best I can avoid getting caught up in the trap of sin, and this happens by not only confessing my sin and embracing the power of the resurrection, but turning from those practices that lead me into sin.
When I worked as a psychotherapist I had a number of people I was helping who had a drug addiction, and part of the treatment was not only to encourage them to recognize that their addiction was an issue, but to make changes in their life to reduce temptation, to reduce the chance of them slipping. In the same way, not only do I need to come before Jesus and confess my sin, I need to make the changes necessary to make sure I don’t do it again. And then this awesome passage encourages us to become slaves again..
Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. The greek word for serve is douleuo which can mean to be a slave. But this is a different kind of slavery, it is where I choose to be a slave and my master is God and the work is to love others. Which in the greek speaks of a generous concern, delighting in those people who we don’t know as well as those we do.
So with my freedom from a life of sin I choose not to fill it with a focus on myself, my own desires, but I choose to be bound to serving Jesus in loving others as much as I can, especially those who others ignore.
What an amazingly challenging passage!! Praise God!
If you would like to subscribe to this blog and receive my reflections as an email for free: click here.
Yahweh’s Yarn in a Year : 1 year Bible reading plan
The Portion for next day is: Psalm 90-92
To access the complete plan for the year click here.