We are in the middle of a sermon series called “A New Spirit.” We have been thinking about God’s spiritual gifts and what to do with them. We have thought about gratitude, peace and hope. This weekend we will focus on freedom, which seems appropriate as we prepare for Independence Day celebrations.
In Galatians 5, Paul identifies the purpose of our God-given freedom. “Do not use your freedom selfishly—use it for the good.” He tells us to use our freedom responsibly and wisely. Paul says that if we don’t use our freedom to walk in the Spirit, then we’ll remain slaves to selfishness. Our “freedom from” the law is given to us so that we will have the “freedom for” pursuing a life of service.
You may have read “The Decline and Fall of the Athenian Republic” or similar books. Historians remind us that ancient democracies eventually unraveled because of human selfishness. The average age of the great civilizations is 200 years. Nations progressed through a similar sequence—from bondage to spiritual faith to great courage to liberty to abundance. But then, from abundance to selfishness to complacency to apathy to dependency—then back to bondage.
Where are the majority of people in our nation are today? Where are you? If we want to make America great or great again, where in that civilization sequence do we want to be? Where do we need to be? It seems we need to use the gift of “freedom for” or lose it? This is true for citizens of the country and the Kingdom. We have been given freedom for the purpose of loving. Give this some thought—see you ‘round the Table this weekend.