Man...God just had me read Galatians and I of course started reading. The first few chapters were just kinda "whatever" to me and I wasn't really THAT into it. The Word is always good, but it's not like the Holy Spirit was making it jump off the page to me. I kept reading though......and I got to chapter 5 (verse 13 to be exact).....and it was like it instantly hit me: "This is what He's having me read Galatians for."
Galatians 5:13 reads (from the NLT translation) - "For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don't use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love."
I really just love that. And I understand it means more to me at this very moment because the Holy Spirit specifically quickened it to me, but still, it's amazing. It is SUCH an important command. Don't use your freedom to satisfy the sinful nature...instead, use it to freely love each other.
God really does give us freedom to do whatever we want. It's a great thing, but it can also be a bad thing depending on what we choose to do with that freedom. My bro dog Jason (commonly reffered to as J-Bone) pointed this verse out to me in Jeremiah a long time ago and I love it. I am actually asking him exactly where it is right now because I always forget.....so hold on one second......OK! Here it is.....
Jeremiah 40:4 - (words being spoken to Israelite prisoners back when Babylon was a primetime evil power of the world) "But I am going to take off your chains and let you go. If you want to come with me to Babylon, you are welcome. I will see that you are well cared for. But if you don't want to come, you may stay here. The whole land is before you--go wherever you like."
At this time, God was sending His people to Babylon and was going to take care of them there, even in the midst of all the evil that took place there. Yet it is like God is speaking to His people saying (in my own words), "I am going to set you free, I am going to Babylon and I would love it if you followed me there....because I promise to care for you and protect you. If you DON'T want to be with me though, that's fine too. You can go wherever you want." God is giving His people the ultimate option to abide with Him and enjoy His protection and care, but He is also giving the option for people to do their own thang.
We can choose to use our freedom to do whatever we want to do. Basically it boils down to two choices though: follow God or don't follow God. The consequences of the decision you make in this regard are absolutely dire. Just as Paul said in Galatians, you are free to do whatever you want, but don't use that freedom to satisfy sin, use it to love each other.
Later on in Galatians 5, Paul breaks the two choices up like this: follow the Spirit or follow the flesh (sinful nature). As humans we are born into sin and therefore slaves to our sinful nature....or at least WERE slaves to our sinful nature. Christ set us free from that. Now we have that freedom to choose to live by the Spirit (of God) or to live by the flesh.
Here is an illustration that might help you understand. Using our freedom to satisfy the sinful nature is like being a slave and working for a really mean, evil, nasty master your whole life. Then, finally, out of nowhere, a heroic champion comes and saves you and sets you free and is like, "I've set you free, now come follow me and let's get the heck out of here." But you, with your newfound freedom, decide to stay there and not follow your rescuer out. You instead decide to stay where you are, in slavery to your master (sin), and not leave with the hero (Jesus) that came and saved you. Does that makes sense?
I realize I am writing a ton, so I'm going to break this into two separate posts. So without further ado.....to be continued.....