Devotional: How to experience freedom
Written by Lt. Grant Holloway, Salvation Army administrator/pastor in Brainerd Lakes, Minn.
As we begin to celebrate Independence Day, many of us are pausing to take a moment to recognize the freedoms we enjoy. Many of us celebrate these freedoms with parades, fireworks, family vacations, grilling, and time on beautiful lakes.
Having a brother who currently serves in the Marine Corps makes me appreciate these liberties even more. Countless people put their lives on the line each day to protect, defend, and sometimes even die, so we can enjoy freedom.
Where Is Freedom Rooted?
Initially, Harvey slept in our bed. We decided to crate-train him at night shortly after we got him since he is a very active sleeper who steals our pillows. Each morning when I let him out of the crate, I’m greeted with the same enthusiasm. As the crate door swings open, Harvey bolts into my arms. He then proceeds to dart out of our backdoor and run around the yard, basking in his new-found freedom.
I’m reminded of the same freedom that we share in Christ. It is His forgiveness that has set us free. Romans 8:1-2 (NIV) says:
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”
As a result we should stand firm in our freedom, not being bound by sin but set free by the love that God has shown us. Galatians 5:1 (NIV) puts it like this:
“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.”
Freedom: Born from Love
Paul also reminds us in Galatians 5:13 (NIV):
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use this freedom to indulge the flesh; rather serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
I find it interesting that Paul combines freedom and love together in this passage. The more I thought about how the two are related, the more I started hearing songs and verses that combine the two.
The Salvation Army has a song that talks about God’s boundless salvation as a deep ocean of love. I’ve come realize that I can’t fully love, if I am not fully free. I can’t give people what I haven’t experienced myself. It wasn’t until I experienced God’s love to the fullest and was truly set free, that I started to love people with the same boundless love God has for me.
Experiencing Freedom in Our Lives
We have the opportunity to enjoy freedom every day because Christ has set us free. This isn’t something to be kept for ourselves or hoarded in excess. We’re called to overflow into the lives of others, but how?
We do this by serving humbly. Instead of thinking of what we can gain from serving others, think first of showing God’s love. Think also of the freedom that you and I enjoy. Let that guide us to love others and share the news of Christ’s freedom with them.
There is such great freedom found through Christ’s love. I pray that as you enjoy your holiday, you celebrate not just our freedom as a country, but also the freedom that is found in Christ.