Daily Devotional

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July 15

Galatians 5:1

1 For freedom, Christ set us free. Stand firm then and don’t submit again to a yoke of slavery. — Galatians 5:1

Freedom in Christ

by Carol Vicary
Brentwood Campus

One day a few years ago, I received a video on my phone from my son Michael. He loves all things outdoors—camping, hiking, kayaking. This day he was enjoying another kind of outdoor activity, all caught on film. At first, I wasn’t quite sure what I was seeing and hearing. Eventually I realized he was awkwardly strapped to another guy who was flying with him through the air. There was screaming, sounds of air rushing by, and finally, the fluttering as the parachute opened. This was how Michael told me he tried skydiving for the first time. Although he was scared, he loved the freedom of falling through the air without restraint and then being caught by the parachute as he dropped safely to the ground.

Trusting Christ is a little like jumping out of an airplane. You have to believe that what you’re trusting in is really going to hold you. Even though it is scary, freedom comes when you step out of the plane. Paul says Christ has set us free from the hold sin has on us. We can now be free to be who God created us to be, with the gifts and personality He gave us, but in a way that is a reflection of our heavenly Father.

In the words of Scot McKnight in his commentary on Galatians, “‘Being free’ is the liberation of a person’s spirit to do what God wants, to be what God wants, and to enjoy the life God gives us on this earth.” Freedom is not an excuse to live life selfishly. God wants us to live life fully by loving Him and loving others. Sin will try to control us with its yoke again and again, tempting us and mocking us. But God has placed His Spirit in our hearts, who tells us the truth about what it means to have real life, the life God has for us. The key to hearing that truth is listening.

My husband and I will soon celebrate 36 years of marriage. One of the things I love most about him is he is a great listener. He cares about what I say. He wants to know what I think. I need to be a better listener in my relationship with Christ. To be honest, I don’t always want to hear what He says. I just want to do what I want to do. Sometimes I get mad because things didn’t turn out like I wanted or my prayers weren’t answered the way I thought was best. I sound like a two-year-old! Yet even when my two-year-old self takes over, I still can hear Jesus, softly and tenderly calling me to come home. Even when I’m not listening, God doesn’t stop talking.

Christ offers us the freedom that comes from trusting that He will hold us—that He is able to do beyond all that we ask or imagine—even as we fall through the air.

We just have to jump.

Praxis

  1. In what areas of your life are you afraid to trust Christ? How can you take a small step that will help you trust Him more?
  2. Galatians 5:1 talks about freedom and slavery. Paul instructs us to put our faith in Christ and not a set of religious rules. Do you think it’s easier to follow the rules or to follow Christ? Why? What does God want you to do?
  3. What is keeping you from listening to Jesus? Is it your pride, an addiction, a friend, doubt, hurt, bitterness, money, etc.? There are a lot of things that discourage us or distract us from the truth. Name them, so you can begin to deal with them.