“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” -
2 Corinthians 3:17
Recently, we celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day. A respected leader and peaceful civil rights activist, Dr. King was well known for his “I have a dream” speech . A part of his dream was to see people come together in faith and in freedom. Toward the end of his speech, he speaks of what true freedom looks like for every one of God’s children. He ends by stating:
“When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every tenement and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old spiritual, 'Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.'”
While Dr. King was mainly speaking on behalf of his brothers and sisters of color who’d been wrongly enslaved, all children of God can learn from the message of “freedom.”
There is another type of slavery that causes division. It is the bondage of legalism. Might we occasionally slip into the trap of viewing God’s word as a list of rules for living? How often are we privy to disagreements between believers about drinking, or women in leadership, or any number of other topics? Our list of “Shoulds” and “Shouldn’ts” can negate the wonderful freedom that was gifted to us by our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Paul so eloquently, yet simply states in Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened AGAIN by a yoke of slavery.” (Emphasis mine.)
Through God’s magnanimous grace, we’ve been endowed with a wonderful gift, that of the Holy Spirit. He has come to guide us in all matters, and to counsel us on God’s behalf. If we choose to avail ourselves of this precious gift, to walk in the Spirit and listen to His promptings, we need not adhere to a list of rules or conform to other’s opinions. He will guide us in all truth. We can live in freedom, knowing we are forgiven and loved, and can extend that same freedom to others. We need not slip back into old habits of adhering to (or even creating new) rules, or O.T. law.
So, what does this type of freedom look like?
“The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. ” (Galatians 5:6b, 13)
How might you better exercise the freedom in Christ you’ve been blessed with?