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.
Christ has set me free! Sometimes I forget that. There are hurts and habits from my past that Jesus has healed and changed. I have to admit that my mind can sometimes go back to those places. I remember what it was like to be a slave. I remember what it was like to carry the burden alone. Jesus called me to Himself. He wrapped his arms around me and held me. It was as if he said, “Child, you don’t have to do this life alone. No more striving; let’s do this together!” Oh the freedom that comes when we give it all to Him.
You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? 8 That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you.
I love Jesus. I love how he relates to me. When I accepted him as my Savior, I truly felt free. There was a drive in me to know him and how God intended life to be lived—which was not the way I was doing it that was for sure! In my mind, I had a lot of catching up to do. I was so grateful to him for he truly pulled me out of the muck and the mire. He set my feet on firm ground and I took off running. I was studying the bible, praying, having quiet times, and learning so much. He sent people into my life to encourage me, teach me, and pray for me. I was running the good race. Then someone from my past, before Jesus, showed up in my life again. That person “cut in on me” and tripped me up. That yoke of slavery was lurking. The persuasion is subtle, the words can seem true; yet you know they aren’t Truth. There is that “Y” in the road. The world beckons one way. Jesus stands there with his arms open the other way. I run to him. His word is truth and can be trusted. As a popular Christian song says, “I have decided to follow Jesus; no turning back.” The race continues.
13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
As I watch the news, I see the evidence of this statement. I see people “biting and devouring each other” and the destruction it is causing is growing. We have an enemy that has set out to steal, kill, and destroy us—and we are helping him. It grieves me to see Christ followers caught up in the lies. I have to keep my eyes focused on Jesus and not any of the screens (TV, social media) that try to persuade me or I could easily be caught up as well. Paul is warning us about this through the entire chapter. We are to be led by the Spirit and not by the flesh.
I can only humbly serve another in love by knowing how Jesus served others. He modeled an example for us in the story of the last supper when he washed the feet of the disciples, including Judas fully knowing he was about to betray him. I want to love my neighbor but they are not always nice to me. I want to react to them out of my flesh but Jesus told us to turn the other cheek, not only give them your shirt but give them your coat as well. So I have felt convicted to begin to pray for ways to reach my neighbors—my immediate neighbors. I have no problem going to a rescue mission, a woman’s shelter, or even Africa to serve. However, I have not reached out to my next-door neighbors. I trust God will show me how to show love to them.
Heavenly Father, the battle is real. I must continually look to you for my direction and the strength to continue the good race. Sometimes it feels more like an obstacle course than a race but I have your Word and your Spirit to help me over the hurdles. Show me how to love my neighbors. Teach me how to love like Jesus. In His name I pray, Amen