The Good News is that through Christ we have been set free! We are free from working out our own salvation! We are free from what binds us! We are free from the past, from our fears and our anxieties. Freedom is yours! You are saved, be empowered! Do we claim our freedom or do we recoil from it? Are we afraid of our liberation? Would we prefer the ‘security’ that a life, dictated by circumscribed rules and to offer? Do we secretly try to tick the boxes trying to put ourselves right with God? The Galatians were about to settle for a life patterned on the diligent performance of certain rites and rituals. Paul said ‘No, this is not what it is all about’. The gospel is about what Christ has done for us and not what we can do. Are we really trusting in our Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer and what He has done? Trust in God and believe in yourselves, as liberated children in the image of God.
However, yes, there is a catch; God does not give us a freedom to be selfish and self centred. God does not want us to indulge in our own pleasure, power and prestige. For these attitudes and actions result in rivalry, envy and division. This freedom is not an excuse for the popular philosophy of life: a freedom to do whatever you like, to do whatever pleases you so long as it doesn’t hurt others. Don’t be caught up and wallow in your base human nature. Don’t be enslaved by lust, envy and self-righteousness. There is no freedom in this. You are free. Now exercise your freedom to love and serve one another unconditionally. You are liberated to love.
Maybe another reason that we recoil from our freedom is that with it comes responsibility. Are we afraid of the choices we have? Do we prefer to rely on rule books and authorities to tell us what to do. Maybe we feel that to love means to miss out ourselves. However, it is not a game of pluses and minuses. To love others does not result in less love for ourselves. Obviously at a material level, to love and to give of our time, money and possessions results in denying these things only for ourselves. However, at a spiritual, non-materialistic level, which is what ultimately matters, to share, to love results in our lives becoming richer, rewarding and more meaningful.
True love does not produce deeds which, unmasked, are carried out with resentment. True love is unconditional. There are no underlying agendas. We all have our lifelong challenges to face in this area. For many, just mere selfishness in general; trying to learn to be humble in what you do; not to feel compelled to tell others what you are doing, or what you have done for someone else.
How is God calling you to love? What are you doing now? Is it a burden or is it done with grace? What are the challenges for you?
This life of faith and love is in the here and now. The spiritual life is not about the existential experience of highs; dwelling on spiritual mountain tops divorced from reality and our human flesh and blood experience. True spirituality is right here, right now.
So what is our life of love like? It is light and delightful, but at the same time seriously intended. It is practical where, even the day to day smallest of gestures for others, may be of the greatest importance. It is imbued by a deep inner peace. It is focused on drawing people into the light and life of Christ, and not on darkness and despair. It is like a circle dance, where all join hands as a unified but diverse body. A dance which by its movement and vitality, others are drawn to it, shake loose the burdens that weigh them down and join in.
Dwell in God, claim your freedom and dance the life of love.