"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
Occasionally my older siblings tease me about my desire to express my freedom as a toddler. Shedding clothes, I'd run down the street. Mom would send an older child to bring me home. Was I indulging sinful attitudes at such a young age? Maybe!
What is this freedom that Paul warns us not to misuse? Is it the freedom of basic human rights that we enjoy in Western nations? Hardly! There are people in prison as well as in other countries who enjoy the freedom Paul is talking about—it's the freedom that only the gospel brings, freedom from our slavery to sin and to legalistic moral attitudes.
The Galatians had enjoyed this freedom when they believed the gospel of Christ, but it seemed they were about to be enslaved again by sin and legalism! Freedom is precious. It's bought with the priceless blood of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
President Lincoln understood something about the precious value of freedom. Signing the Emancipation Proclamation to free slaves in the United States, he made sure his hand was steady before writing his name. Signing firmly, he stated, "I don't want it to look as if I hesitated."
The good news of Jesus sets people truly free. It's the freedom that brings new life and calls us to use it to serve others.