For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. Galatians 5:13
Everyone enjoys having freedom, and no one in their right mind would want to give up their freedom or to be in bondage to something. However, the enemy with the cooperation of our flesh tires to continually derail us from the freedom that Jesus purchased for us. Our flesh always wants to get the upper hand by telling us that we need to stand up for our rights and seek justice in our own strength. It also protests that our feelings are hurt and our ego is bruised, so something has to be done to alleviate the pain.
The truth is that our flesh will always protest against the things of God. In addition, what our flesh tells us is immediate and is visible, so it looks more real than any spiritual work that is getting done in and around us. In addition, if we have succumbed to its demands in the past, it has gained strength desiring to control our lives.
If we are going to live in freedom, we have to take control of our flesh and the soulish behavior that comes out of it. It is only in denying our flesh, that our spirit man grows. We may sing beautiful worship songs, read our Bibles, and have a three point sermon for others. However, when we come down from that high place and begin to live our lives, that’s where the rubber meets the road. When we are focused on standing up for our rights, it is very hard to hear God. Furthermore, it is very difficult to love others, while we are focused on our pain, our needs, and our demands. When we are intent on getting our way, there is not much room for faith walk!
I am not one to get impressed easily by people. I used to think that if I watched people long enough, I can develop a good idea of their character and maturity in the Lord. However, in the last few years, I have developed a better understanding of this issue. I have realized that there is more to all of us than what we project to one another at church, around a dinner table, or at a social occasion.
One of the tests of characters is how we react when we feel crossed by others. That moment can bring a lot to the surface and reveal more than we ever thought was inside of a person. How a person reacts, is a window to the condition of the person’s heart. How they treat others at the moment of being crossed, reveals the level of control that their flesh has on them.
This doesn’t mean that we all behave properly every time someone crosses us, but there is a way to correct a wrong reaction. If we over-react or are hurtful, rude, or mean to others, first we need to acknowledge that we were wrong. We also should admit to the person and apologize for our bad behavior. Those are steps of maturity and freedom in God. Our flesh will not like it, and it will give us one hundred reasons as to why we shouldn’t do it, but we have to shut its voice and trust God that He will take care of us when we do what pleases Him.
How do you use your freedom? Do you use your freedom to indulge your flesh and all its desires, demands, and rights? Or do you use your freedom to confidently love others with no fear of being taken advantage of? If we use our freedom to indulge ourselves, we will lose our liberty and will be back in bondage again. On the other hand, if we use our liberty to love others selflessly, we will continue to be delivered from the flesh and will enjoy the freedom that God bought us through Christ!