By Morgann Burres
Freedom. It sounds so good.
In the Church, we love to talk about “freedom in Christ.” We tell others of how Christ has “broken our chains.” We sing songs about this lovely freedom that we possess as Christians.
The funny thing about it? Most of us live as prisoners.
We live in this well-disguised prison called religion.
We make our daily spiritual checklist:
__ Quiet time (20 mins)
__ Worship music only in the car
__ Don’t swear
__ Go to church (in a modest outfit)
__ Feel incredibly guilty if I don’t accomplish it all
I mean, I know it’s a bit over-exaggerated, but isn’t this true?! We do this, whether we want to or not. And the result is a bunch of Christians who walk around comparing their spiritual lives to those of others.
We have a church more heavily influenced by Christian celebrities on Instagram than the Bibles they hold during their 20 minutes of quiet time. We’ve bought into the idea that good Christians have a leather-bound-handmade-by-African-women journal with an ESV Study Bible, and they do their quiet time on a solid wood table by candle light while sipping fair-trade iced coffee out of a mason jar. And that’s all they do. All. Day. Long.
Ladies. WAKE UP.
That’s not reality.
Sure, quiet time is important and healthy. Participating in church is good and right. Worship music is edifying and encouraging. All good things.
But if that’s all we do and all we’re called to, how will people hear about Jesus?
“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).
Christ set us FREE from SLAVERY. He set us free from the Law that says, “Do more, and more righteousness will be added to you.” He set us free to grace which says, “Just believe, and my righteousness will be credited to you eternally.”
So what do we do with this freedom? We live life.
“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Galatians 5:13-14).
How do we determine what this looks like? We live by the Spirit.
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).
Ladies, this is incredible! It means that we can stop striving to be “good enough.” We can stop playing the game of comparison. We can stop wondering if we’ll measure up. We know the answers to those. We aren’t good enough. We don’t compare, and we won’t measure up. That’s why we need CHRIST.
Christ is good enough.
Christ trumps all.
Christ is the standard by which we measure up to.
So, we walk by the Spirit of the living God. We put on love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22)
We make breakfast with these attitudes. We drive to work with these attitudes. We play sports with these attitudes. We do our quiet time with these attitudes.
Christ sets us free from our spiritual checklists. People don’t come to know Jesus because we scored 100% for the day. People come to know Jesus when we, the Church, are living life alongside others. When we are being Christ to them.
So I urge you: YES – read your Bibles. YES – have your quiet time. YES – worship in song. But if these are the only things that help you determine how “productive” your day was, then you’ve got it all wrong.
People need Jesus. And the only way they’re going to hear about him is if you’re not chained up in your own religious prison. Who would want that Jesus anyway? Jesus came to abolish the law, so let’s stop making our own.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Freedom to live by the Spirit, freedom to serve others. Freedom to live under the new law of grace. Live as one who has been set free, for you are free indeed.
[Image courtesy of Flickr.com]