For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another.” vs. 13Galatians 5:1, 13-18
The freedom that Paul was talking about to the Galatians had little to do with the ordinances and rules of the Jewish Law. And for us it has nothing to do with escaping the strict moral and ethical codes of a pietistic upbringing. Our experience of freedom in Christ might begin with such a release, but we quickly discover that it’s ever so easy to fall captive to a myriad of other forces. Paul calls those enemies the flesh, and believes that they lurk on the fringes of every human heart just waiting for an opportunity to pounce. Some dismiss his language as primitive, but the self-indulgence that he speaks of is as present to us as it was to him. We see it happening every day in our culture, and sometimes friends and family are among the victims. In fact, every one of us is vulnerable–there’s probably not a person alive who has not dabbled in self-indulgence and honestly, it feels really good! True freedom, Paul says, comes only when we commit ourselves to following the one commandment lifted up by Jesus, that we love our neighbor as ourselves. That may seem like just one more rule to follow, but for Paul loving is the key to opening up the treasures of kingdom living. As we become slaves to one another in love, we find contentment and joy.
Thought for the Day: What has self-indulgence done for me?