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True Love

by Kelly Crawford

After pondering legalism and freedom in Christ, and a number of “Providential” encounters this weekend, I wanted to share my revelations about it all–prepare yourself for earth-shattering thoughts–*sarcasm* 🙂

Freedom in Christ is a gift…not to be taken lightly, and not to be abused or misunderstood. Paul said “all things are lawful for me, but not all things are beneficial”…freedom in Christ is not about seeing what I can get by with; it is about doing the things (or not doing the things) that are beneficial to the body of Christ–it’s about others.

Freedom in Christ is walking in the spirit, not the flesh. This is where it can so easily get misunderstood. Because we are fleshly, carnal, selfish–we love to justify our flesh with a spiritual tunic. “I am free in Christ, and therefore, you can not condemn my behavior, because I answer to no man, only God.” Well, that statement is true, but often it comes out of a selfish heart-motive. My freedom in Christ is not to be used to “take care of me” or my desires. If I am walking in the spirit, and not the flesh, I am dying to myself…daily. My cares are decreasing, and my love for God and others is increasing. If I find myself more concerned with what my freedom allows ME, then my focus is all wrong.

Freedom in Christ is about living for God not man. Since I am to live for God and not man, I must be careful to not use liberty as a license to offend, but I also must not use standards of behavior as a measure of my spirituality. Here’s a good litmus test: if your children misbehave in public (especially at church or around friends you admire), are you embarassed because of their behavior, or are you simply broken because of their sinfulness? Ooooooh…aren’t we all guilty!

See, raising obedient children is absolutely the only right thing for Christians to do–we’re commanded to. But if our reasons for doing so are carnal, then even as we carry out a biblical command we can be in sin!

The bottom line, as I’m learning, painfully, slowly, is that I must decrease, and He must increase. Everything I do must be because I long to live a life that is pleasing to my Father–nothing else. (Aren’t we women so prone to the “bondage of approval”?) And in my living, and in my freedom, I must always esteem others better than myself. Otherwise, the freedom I claim to have is not the same freedom my Savior taught. He was free to demand honor, and clout, and preference. Instead, he knelt down and washed his disciples’ feet.

Freedom in Christ is literally, freedom from myself and bondservice to Him!

Freedom from my need to cling to the flesh…in either direction. I must neither hold onto wordliness and justify it, nor must I put on spirtual hyprocrisy in my standard-keeping.

Is it about making a list of what I’m “free” to do, or making a list of what I “need” to do, or is it just about crucifying the flesh with all its lusts (approval of men and/or “offensive freedom”), and living a life of humility and love?

Jesus is our example. Holiness without hypocrisy, and freedom that yields to others.

True love is dying…could our Lord’s death have been more than our redemption? Could His blood cry out to us, this 2000 years later,

“Look at Me…to love Me, you must die“?

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Miss Rebekah Ann S. February 11, 2008 - 8:16 pm

Yet another outstanding post!

We are the Lord’s slaves(that’s literally what the term bondservant means), and must live like it-by obeying His every command out of immense love for Him!

Catherine R. February 12, 2008 - 3:48 pm

My friend once said that as Christians, we all share the common bond of being hypocrites. I think it is a real challenge to prevent ourselves from becoming cynical in the pursuit of holiness. Thankfully Jesus allows us to dust ourselves off and try again when we mess up. Good post.


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