It would seem that the Galatian church struggled—as many churches still do—with the concept of freedom, how it works and how it is to be applied to our lives. Being free from the law—receiving salvation as a gift rather than earning it through works—is a difficult concept to grasp. And, no matter how much revelation some people get, there always seem to be those who want to find a set of chains and shackle the Church back to the law.
So Christ has really set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.
Galatians 5:1 (NLT)
How do I know when I’m getting tied up again? The answer is quite simple and you probably know it already.
But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law.
Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)
If you are being led in a direction that produces anything but these things, you’re being led back into the bondage of the law. The Holy Spirit will never lead you into anything that is based on works and produces selfish results. He will only lead you into things that produce good fruit with selfless results.
For you have been called to live in freedom—not freedom to satisfy your sinful nature, but freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Galatians 5:13-14 (NLT)
So if you’re questioning where you’re being led, ask yourself a few simple questions:
- Is this solely for my benefit or will others benefit from it?
- Will this result in producing the fruit of the Spirit?
- Does this reflect love for my neighbour? How so?
- Am I serving myself or am I serving others?
In the end, our freedom is all about serving one another. If you’re not serving your neighbour—whether you like them or not—you’re not really free. There are no qualifiers on the love we are commanded to give. It’s not always easy and that’s why we need the Holy Spirit to guide us. If we are truly free and have nailed our own passions and desires to the cross (Galatians 5:24), we live by the Holy Spirit and must follow his guidance in every part of our lives.
Love your neighbour. Stay free.
Daily Bible reading: Isaiah 10-12, Galatians 5