Monday – December 19, 2016
Read: Galatians 5:13-15
Focus: vs 13
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.”
Our freedom in Christ is not meant to be hugged to ourselves. One of the things God has blessed me with since becoming a believer and experiencing the freedom that comes only as I submit to Him is a real desire to use my new found freedom to help others. Let me give two events that occurred as illustrations of this freedom to serve. First, I remember going with my pastor one day to visit one of the young ladies of our church who had experienced a surgery. It so happened that the night before we had a heavy snow storm. They do happen in upstate New York quite regularly during the winter. Several people were trying to get out of the hospital parking lot and having difficulty doing so. My pastor and I spent some time, perhaps over a half-hour, just pushing cars so they could get a start out of that as yet unplowed parking lot. We then felt free to go on into the hospital to visit this young lady.
Second, is a more personal story in that it involves the woman who became my wife; I had gotten off work and headed over to the dorm where she was living at the time and pulled into the parking lot behind the house. Someone was having car trouble when I pulled in so I stopped to help them get their car started. After that was all done I went to the back door of the house and asked to see Marj. One of her roommates came and told me she was not there. It appeared my trip had been in vain. However, when I next saw her she apologized as she had gone out the front door with her ex-boyfriend who wanted to talk with her. It literally happened as I was knocking on the back door. My point is that in both instances I felt a freedom to act to help others without expecting anything in return. Why, because Christ put within my heart a desire to serve Him in any way possible and that usually means doing good for someone.
How does this happen? Our scripture points out that it is by the power of the Holy Spirit within us. Being free is not meant for us to do anything we want but instead to use that freedom in humble service to others. Freedom is a gift through the Spirit. It is meant to be shared not hoarded. During this season of Advent I would urge you to express your freedom in Christ through acts of kindness for others. What better way to thank your heavenly Father? Sin is usually an expression of selfishness so doing good for others is turning that around and doing it in the power that comes from the Holy Spirit within. May God and others be blessed as you freely “Love your neighbors.”