The Freedom to Love

The Freedom to Love

I am definitely learning the most about the freedom to love, and how far I am from it, from my youngest child. He is 5 and he seems to inherently understand that love is the most important thing. I on the other hand, seem to forget this most days in pursuit of something else.

Just this week, when I was dropping him off at school, we running late so I asked him if he could walk to the kindergarten door himself. Normally, I walk him across the soccer field and wait with him until the door opens. Today, we were running so late I could see the door was already open from across the field. To answer my question, he looked toward the open door, then up toward the sky with a pondering look on his face. Then he turned back to me and said so matter-of-factly “Yes, but I would like a big hug first”.

My heart, which seconds ago was entangled with all the lies that I must produce something of value today to be valuable, and the fear that I was already running late in doing so, just stopped and melted. Truthfully, I really need a hug first too.

Fear had been my driving force again in this new season I find myself in. I am excited to follow God and go after the amazing things He has given me to do, but I so easily get wrapped up in doing and the fear of failure or not measuring up. This little man, however, knows something that I keep forgetting love casts out fear (1 John 4:18).

In his childhood innocence, he is free to be loved and love others. His little heart has not yet been hindered by the lies, the laws, and the brokenness that mine has been. My heart is chained with so many things that keep me from pure love.  And it seems that it is my lack of freedom to be loved and give love to others that constantly re-ensnares me to sin again and again. It is a cycle of chaining, that thank God, Jesus set us free from.  But it is still a cycle that we need to recognize, bring to God, and let His truth redeem.

The state of our freedom can and should be measured by our capacity to be loved and love others. This is why the entire law can be “summed up in a single command “Love your neighbor as yourself” Gal 5:14 Think about Jesus’s life on earth. He was so free in God’s love for Him that He was free from religiosity, the cultural influence, and sin. This made Him totally free to be loved by the Father and give that love out to others. There are many accounts of the religious leaders, the culture, and the enemy trying to get Him to follow their ways and sin against God. But He knew who He was in God and used the power of the Spirit in Him to remain free to obey God and love others.

Deep in my soul I know that my “sinful actions” are caused by my inability to remain free to obey God in His way of pure love over my fleshly desires, cultural influences, and religious standards. The Bible describes love as, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Cor 13:1-7). This description of love matches the fruit of the Spirit we find in Gal 5:22.  The truth I find in my day to day life, however, is that it is impossible to hustle hard enough to keep up with the Joneses and find love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal 5:22). I cannot love and be loved as I chase down the world’s definition of success. I cannot love and be loved as I try and meet a whole bunch of standards, regardless of where they come from. I cannot love and be loved as I walk in sin that enslaves me. This is why God came to free us from both the negative effects of sin and the law. We are totally free in Christ.

So like Paul did with the Galatians who were being chained by the Judaizers into religiosity, we are going to bring these chains to God and cut them down with His truth. We will identify the chains that bind by asking ourselves what keeps us free from simply being loved and loving others.  Then we will bring these chains to God and see what His Truth says about them, using these truths to free ourselves to love and love others.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free!” (Gal 5:1a). The freedom to be loved by God and turn around and love others in His name. So we will “stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Gal 5:1b).

Lets Pray:

God you are the god of love. Your way is always love. Help us to identify the chains that bind us and keep us from simply being loved by you and loving those around us. Give us wisdom about these chains that helps us loosen them and walk in your freedom. Thank you for the freedom that you bought for us with such a high price Lord. Teach us the way of love. In Jesus name, Amen. 

Micah Ruth

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