Jesus came to set you free, but do you know why? Is freedom just for your personal happiness, or is there a greater purpose?
Jesus made it clear that he came to set us free:
If you obey my teaching…Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. …I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin…but if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:31-36
Maybe you’ve heard someone tell their story of how Jesus released them from a habit or lifestyle that had them trapped in a death spiral. Those stories are great to hear, but being set free is only Part One of a two-part story.
Sometimes people forget that. I’ve heard people say that they attended a church, came to faith, and got the help they needed during a hard time in their life. But when they got what they came for they left the church and drifted from God. They used their freedom to live for themselves. They just wanted to be happy.
These people used church and Jesus like they use a doctor…just when they needed some help. What they failed to see is they were set free to help others. That’s the second part of our spiritual story. The apostle Paul put it this way to a first century church:
It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom.…use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. Galatians 5:13-15
Did you catch his insight here? He said that when you serve others your personal freedom grows. But when you use your freedom for just yourself, you destroy it. It’s like God gives you a treasure chest of riches. If you use the riches to help others, the chest never empties. But if you use the riches for strictly your own benefit, you’ll drain the riches and end up in poverty again.
God, give us eyes to see not only how we can find freedom in You but use it to serve others!