The cost, temptation, and call of freedom

The cost, temptation, and call of freedom

By Kyle Patterson

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. Galatians 5:13

The cost of freedom

Freedom is never free. Whether we’re talking about our nation, or our faith, there was a steep price to pay, and someone had to pay it. For America, we owe a debt of gratitude to those who laid down their lives fighting for the freedom we now enjoy. We are reaping the fruits of another’s labor. For our faith we are forever thankful and inspired by great missionaries who sacrificed so much, so we can enjoy the freedom to worship and serve our God.

As the great missionary pioneer Adoniram Judson said so well, “There is no success without sacrifice. If you succeed without sacrifice it is because someone has suffered before you. If you sacrifice without success it is because someone will succeed after.”

The truth is we are reaping today what those before us gave their lives for. Most importantly, we are reaping today the grace given to us in Jesus Christ, a freedom that has nothing to do with external circumstances, or the lack of conflict, it comes from the amazing gift of God’s grace given to us by faith in Jesus.

Jesus famously said, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends.”

This kind of freedom of self sacrifice is the freedom Jesus bought for us, as our inheritance. He gave his own life, so that we could ultimately be free. Free from the power of sin and death. Free to worship and fellowship with the Father. Free to be children of God. But with freedom comes more choices, more opportunities, and potentially more temptations. Freedom is a great thing, used responsibly and passed on sacrificially.  

The temptation of freedom

The temptation when we are free, is rather than share the God given freedom, we keep it to ourselves, we become comfortable and rather than sacrificing for the good of others, we care only for the needs of ourselves. I think this is part of what Paul meant when he penned these words thousands of years ago to the Galatian church in Asia.

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. Galatians 5:13

Paul told them plainly in essence, “Yes, you’re free, but don’t use your freedom to indulge your own selfish desires, and do as you will. Use your freedom to help and serve others, to lay down your lives for others." To give ourselves on behalf of those who need us most, the gospel, and the cause of Jesus Christ in the earth, is the greatest way to live. It is true freedom. Freedom from ourselves. This is the greatest thing to give ourselves for and to celebrate.

The call of freedom

The truth is we are called to be free, but not to focus on ourselves. The freedom we have is an opportunity we shouldn't pass up. When some people are suffering daily under tyranny and religious suppression and oppression, it becomes our duty to spread this freedom until the whole world hears of the glory of God. It’s so that we can serve others. The responsibility that comes with freedom can not be forgotten. The resources we have in America can’t be overlooked. We’ve been blessed with so much, so why do we hold on so tightly? Compared to the rest of the world, we have been blessed beyond measure. To whom much is given, much more will be required. The call of God I believe is going out to take this gospel to the ends of the earth, so that everyone has the opportunity that we have to love and serve a great God and pass that heritage of freedom on for generations to come. To give our lives on behalf of others is the ultimate freedom, and according to Paul’s letter to the Galatians, it’s what we are meant to do. Freedom to love, freedom to give, freedom to serve. Let’s pass it on.

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