Thursday, December 6, 2007

Freedom to Love

Paul tells the Galatian church to use the freedom they have in Christ to love each other as they would want to be loved, which fulfills the entire Law (vss. 13-14). Christ's freedom allows us to love each other across racial, gender, denominational boundaries and even to love our enemies. A few chapters back, Paul had told his readers that Christ destroyed all of these barriers, and there is “neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free,” etc. (Gal. 3:28-29).

It is so difficult at times to love each other because the flesh and the Spirit fight against each other, but if Christians are led by the Holy Spirit, we are free to truly love (vss. 17-18). It is very tempting to think that freedom means to be able to do whatever one wants, but Paul's idea of freedom is being free to love, to serve—freedom from the selfish illusions of one's own false self. God is love (1 John 4:8) so we can only love through Him, by the help of His Spirit. Love is not an emotion or a nice feeling, though emotions often go with it; one way I have come to speak of love is as an absolute and unconditional acceptance of the other, as shown in the complete and perfect unity within the Godhead. In our case, God accepts us into His kingdom in spite of our sin and shortcomings; let us find freedom to love others as He has loved us.

Practically, it seems to me that love starts with those who are closest to us. We can't love some vague idea of the Church or the poor or any other abstract category; we have to love the people of the Church that are sitting right beside us, our families and friends, the people we're arguing with and the ones that annoy us. I am reminded of my need for the Spirit to give me freedom to love in such a selfless way as Christ himself has done.

--John Orzechowski


racotton said...

Great reflection beauatifully expressed. I am grateful to be on this spiritual journey with you. Thank you for sharing this.
Rickey Cotton

Nate B. said...

John, your entries are such a blessing. I find so much enjoyment and edification in them. Thank-you for taking time to put your thoughts on here.

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