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Friday, September 05, 2008

Friday freedom

Is there any day of the week like Friday that the feeling of freedom seems to take hold? Besides a few industries, (foodservice, retail, and public services to name a few), most of the working class the world over feels the weight of the work week fading behind them on a Friday. The anticipation of two whole days away from typical responsibilities is such a great feeling. For the all too quick year that I was on staff as a pastor at Fellowship Church and had Fridays off, it was a welcome day of rest as we prepared for the excitement and work of weekend services and activities.

If Fridays can give a sense of release and refreshment, think about these few simple, yet profound words:

"For freedom Christ has set us free." (Gal 5:1)

I find it amazing that so few people I talk with think of Christianity in terms of freedom. Yet, in Galatians Paul’s writing is so emphatic (and clear wouldn’t you say?) about the unchained, unblemished joy of freedom that believers in Christ have. What kind of freedom? Not only freedom from the bondage and tyranny of trying to keep every commandment and law of the Mosaic covenant (which is impossible), but also the freedom that forgiveness of sins brings. One of the main elements of this freedom is the ability to worship God with all that we do. Worship doesn’t happen only when we are in church, or in prayer, or around other Christians, though those things may help focus us, but with all aspects of our life all the time. Faith is not about whether I have long or short hair, or whether I eat one thing and drink another, or what kind of music I listen to. It is about living the life I have been given in authentic expression of loving God and others with all of the heart, mind, soul and strength God gives, according to our spiritual maturity and giftedness. it is a blessing to love God. It is a gift.

"only do not use your freedom as an opportunity to indulge your flesh, "(Gal 5:13)

The interesting thing is that even though we have freedom, Paul warns us to be careful not to use (abuse) this freedom for evil. I am not sure if you have noticed this, but it is an unfortunate part of the human condition that wherever there is freedom, there too often follows irresponsibility. Humans cherish freedom, but we also tend to take it too far. Christians are not immune to this. We are loosed from “rules” but then the wheels come off because temptation is sometimes stronger than our faith. Thankfully, God is a forgiving God, and when we honestly repent (think turn away from sin, not just feeling bad about it) and ask for forgiveness, He is always there. Always.

I heard a wonderful and inspirational song on the way to work this morning. I didn’t hear the name of the song, or the artist but here are some of the words I remember from the chorus. Read through them and ask yourself if you are enjoying the freedom that Christ gives in a way that lets you:

“See like Isaiah,
fly like Elijah.”

“Sing songs like David,
love like the Savior.”

“Dream dreams like Joseph,
know You (God) like Moses”

For freedom Christ has set us free!


At 05 September, 2008 11:16, Anonymous Jim C said...

Freedom to many, is license. It was NEVER meant to be that way. Christ provided us with the "real" meaning of all commandments. In His lifetime, Christ saw how men had perverted the word of God for the purpose of "justifying" themselves, AND for "enslaving" others. Christ made it clear that the commands of God were FOR our benefit, not for controlling others.

Today, our problem is that we are too busy applying His commands to others, and we have misconstrued Christ's "NEW COMMANFMENT" to, love one another as He loved us, to mean the same as the second great command about loving our neighbor. It is not the same. It is TOTALLY different. If they were one in the same, christ would not have used the term "new commandment." We MUST learn to look MUCH deeper and find what He was saying in that "new command."

At 05 September, 2008 11:18, Anonymous Jim C said...

Capital C in Christ, oops!

At 07 September, 2008 12:46, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great thoughts and reminders, Mark! We are free, indeed!

At 07 September, 2008 20:40, Blogger Mark said...

I like how Jessus talks about pouring new wine into an old wine skin as a metpahor and how short-sighted we are to come to terms with His new commandments.

Thanks for the great comments guys, and thanks for the encouraging words Johnny.

Bless you both, and thanks for dropping by!


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