“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” Galatians 5:13
During the Easter season, must is said about the freedom that God has granted through Christ. Those that repent and put their faith in the work of His Son, God releases from bondage in order to have a new life in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). No longer must we live as slaves to our sinful desires; no longer must our wicked hearts tempt us to act in rebellion to God’s plan (Rom. 6:5-11). Instead, we are His servants, and He is at work in us to make us more like Him. (Rom 8:29; Phil. 2:13)
However rarely is the discussion of our freedom followed by a reminder of how our freedom should prompt us to live towards others. As the passage quoted above states, we should not think of our freedom in terms of how it benefits our desires, but instead we should use it as an opportunity to serve others. Our freedom should compel us to do the work of the One who set us free, and He loved His children so much that He was willing to die a gruesome death on their behalf. If this is the magnitude of His love for them, then we should be willing to lay aside our petty desires and perceived self-rights in order to continue to put His love on display. Our freedom shouldn’t be used to make us look good, but instead, should bring glory and honor to God.
This is easy to forget in a individualistic culture where we talk of our “personal” relationship with Christ. But God’s desire is not for us alone (I Tim. 2:3-4), and the gift of freedom He has given shouldn’t be used for our purposes, but for His. And His purpose is that we would use it as a means and a motivation to love one another.
So as we contemplate the great love that our Father had for us, and the sacrifice that His Son was willing to make, as we marvel at how He conquered the grave and are filled with gratitude for the new life we have in Him, may our love for Him increase, and consequently our love for those that He loves.