‘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.’ Galatians 5:1
It is Christ who has set us free. It is not of our own doing, Christ has set us free from sin and death to live for eternity with him and that transformation takes place the moment we give our lives to the Lord. These are fundamental truths that I’ve believed and understood for many years. However, I’ve come to understand another aspect of that freedom in recent years, that Christ has set us free to be ourselves. He has set us free from those things which hold us back from being the people he created us to be. In Christ we can be free from the guilt and fear and negative thoughts which prevent us from living in the freedom and fullness of life for which he died.
When I read Galatians 5:1 again recently the two statements contained in it caused me to stop and reflect on that freedom. ‘It is for freedom that Christ has set us free’ is indisputable and has nothing to do with our actions. However the second sentence, the exhortation to stand firm and not let ourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery, is our responsibility and I’ve pondered what that looks like on a practical day-to-day basis. For me it means guarding my heart and my thoughts from the negatives and doubts that can creep in and being aware when they do. My default view of myself is quite negative and I find it very easy to doubt myself, to assume that I’m in the wrong in any situation. Guarding my heart doesn’t mean pretending that those doubts and struggles don’t exist but it’s not allowing them to take hold and become my reality. Sometimes I can do that myself by reminding myself of the good things that God has done for me and thanking him for them. Sometimes it means talking things through with someone I trust and allowing them to show me an accurate perspective. Always it involves taking Paul’s advice in 2 Corinthians 10:5, ‘We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.’