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The Road to Victory - Walking in Freedom

Galatians 5:It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. The phrase "One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch" is kind of the point of what Paul is sharing with the church at Galatia. There was a very strong group of pro-circumcision people who were heavily influencing those new believers and telling them that they needed to do a physical "addition" to the heart belief of accepting Jesus. Basically, they were refuting in part or in whole the teaching of Jesus to Nicodemus in John 4 where Jesus told Nicodemus he must be born again in the Spirit. This is where faith is watered down and compromised by our fleshly attitude about our faith.

We deal with that today when we read James 2:17 where James writes 17 In the same way, faith also, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. I know that many take this scripture and make it a "call to works" which is a lot like what the circumcision crowd was pushing in Galatians. I myself have come down on the side of "If you are a Christian you will serve the Lord in some way" and I let my flesh overrule what the scripture is really saying and I lived in error for years. If we look at the verses around the subject of faith and works we see quickly that just "saying" you are a Christian also needs some "action" that shows proof of that fact. That action is not your faith though. That action is a result of your faith and it is not meant to tie you down to living a life of works only. You can do works and not have the Spirit, and the church at Galatia was pushing this "backward" theology and Paul was calling them out. The Spirit gives us freedom and that freedom is the power that causes great effects in our life. Things like serving with the right heart. Loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength is another result of our faith. When we see a need we react to that need in wisdom and give as Jesus would. When we set up our life schedule we consider the cost of giving our time to more worldly things as a low priority and the priority of serving Jesus becomes paramount in our life.

But don't confuse the actions we take as our faith when those actions can become very fleshly and worldly and freedom becomes a burden in our life. So many Christians get so involved in just serving to serve, and lose their very reason for that service and causing them to no longer be living in freedom, but in bondage to the service itself. The above verse in Galatians is Paul's explanation of what freedom we actually received when we received Jesus. The statement It was for freedom that Christ set us free really says it all. Jesus lifted the burden of sin and expelled anything to do with ourselves and when we are born again, the Spirit becomes our power source and our discerning agent and everything we do comes out of. that freedom in Christ. One of the things that come out of that freedom is a desire to take action. The difference in taking action out of our faith in Jesus is that there is a wisdom that comes with it that causes us to seek the Spirit-filled life that changes our perspective on serving. Even Jesus Himself didn't do certain things because it was not the best thing to do and His actions were "definitely" Spirit-led. If we do something led by the desire to be a Super Christian Servant our motivation is off, and we need to reverse that reasoning to trusting God in the Spirit and searching God's Word, and then we will know what to give our time to and you will still be living in the freedom of the Spirt and not in "serving bondage."

Paul was trying to keep these new converts from getting into a fleshly attitude about their faith and circumcision was the culprit he had to address. Perhaps it is something else for you. Maybe giving all your time to do something "for Jesus" is backward motivated and your freedom doesn't feel so free. Jesus said to come back to our first love and get our perspective "right side up" and we will continue to live in the freedom given to us by Jesus. In the end, we will do more if we will be more like Jesus and the result will be a super-serving saint who is free of the fleshly bondage that only stifles our faith.

1 Corinthians 13:1 If I speak with the tongues of mankind and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.2 If I have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.3 And if I give away all my possessions to charity, and if I surrender my body so that I may glory, but do not have love, it does me no good.

The Pilgrimage Continues.....

David Warren

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