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"Designed to Be Free"
One of my proudest accomplishments in life is that I have driven a 30 foot RV on the freeway in Los Angeles. It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t fun, but I DID IT. Here was my game plan: I sat up as straight as I could, I gripped the steering wheel as tightly as possible, I tensed every muscle in my arms, neck, back and legs and finally I held my breath and just drove. By the time I was done I was sore and exhausted, but again, I DID IT. I guess all of the tension and white knuckles made me feel like I was safe, or at least safer.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like I am living my life that way… use every bit of strength and energy to maintain control and just get through.
Galatians 5:1 says “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.” For the Galatians the Yoke of slavery was the Law. They had been set free. Christ died to make them free so it was no longer the law that controlled them but the love of Christ and the Holy Spirit of God. For some reason they drifted back to submitting themselves to the law. The law wasn’t easy. The law was complicated and truly impossible to keep. But the Galatians knew the law, they trusted the law, it was familiar to them so it felt safe, well, safer. So, they held on white knuckled, tensing every muscle.
In holding on so tightly to the law they had to let go of something else. Unfortunately what they let go of was Christ and grace and faith and righteousness and hope (Galatians 5:4-5). They chose the familiar and lost their freedom.
As much as I hear and read about freedom in Christ, sometimes life doesn’t feel all that free. Sometimes I feel the weight of everything that I have to do. Sometimes I grasp ever tighter to hold onto all of the things that I believe will just crumble to the ground if I don’t hold them all together. If I lose control, if I fail to perform, if I don’t take care of it, the world may just stop turning. That’s a lot of pressure. But what are my options? I can’t just not be responsible. The buck stops here, right? Why? Why do I need to control it all? I can’t control it all. That’s why it takes so much effort to hold on to it all. I wasn’t designed for that. I was designed to be free.
What if I released the steering wheel of my life just a little and gave up the things that were familiar and comfortable but impossible to control, like the law was for the Galatians? What if instead of being all white knuckled and control-y I gave in to that freedom? That’s right, freedom in Christ is not something we work and struggle and try our hardest to earn, it is something we give in to. It is freely given as a grace gift through the power of Christ and the Holy Spirit. You and I are meant to live in it! Enjoy it! It’s why we have been set free.