What if freedom isn't what you think it is?
From Letters of Paul: 30-Day Bible Study
Ever noticed how hard it can be to share an umbrella?
A step too fast or a step too slow, and you’re left out in the rain. Pull too hard toward one side or the other and raindrops sprinkle your shoulder. But as long as two people are walking in step with one another, both stay shielded from the rain.
Most of us think of freedom as a lack of rules, but Paul describes freedom as living in step with the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:25).
The synchronicity involved in sharing an umbrella effectively is a lot like how it feels to stay in step with the Holy Spirit. We can move toward whatever our flesh desires, whether that’s giving full vent to anger or participating in office gossip. And while it might feel good at the moment, it inevitably leaves wet and cold.
Maybe for you, going your own way isn’t throwing off rules but refusing God’s grace like the church in Galatia. Grace sounds too good to be true, so we go back to trying to earn the right standing Jesus died for us to receive.
Keeping in step with the Spirit leads us to a life free from sin’s curse. This is what Paul so desperately wants the Galatians to understand: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).
When we turn back to who we used to be, we are declaring with our actions that what Jesus did wasn't enough. The answer isn't to give up or try harder, but to let the Spirit lead us.
“But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law ... the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:18-23, emphasis added).
Freedom by letting someone else lead? That flies in the face of our American way of thinking. We think staying in line is punitive, restrictive. But in reality, staying behind your leader is freeing.
Psalm 5:12 describes the Lord’s favor covering us as a shield. That’s what freedom feels like — the ability to walk through any circumstance knowing God has got us covered. Pressure and stress won’t take us down when we’re walking in step with Him.
- When is the last time you felt truly free?
- What is weighing you down today?
- Take some time right now to ask God to show you any area of your life where you need to let Him lead.