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May 2, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.”—Galatians 5:13 (NLT)
“Freedom isn’t free.” You may have heard this before. And today, as we observe Independence Day in the US, we get to celebrate the declaration of freedom that was made on July 4, 1776 . . . But we’re also reminded of the price that was—and still is—paid for the freedom we’re privileged to enjoy every day. It’s a freedom that has come at great cost, and a freedom that many around the world don’t get to experience, including many of my family members who are still living in Cuba.
As I think about what this day represents, I’m reminded of the famous Uncle Ben Parker quote from Spider-Man, but with an Independence Day twist: “With great freedom comes great responsibility.” For Americans, freedom is a special word that carries a lot of weight. But for Christians, it’s everything! Consider this: Jesus, the One who made all things (1 Corinthians 8:6) and who holds all things together (Colossians 1:17), “being in very nature God . . . made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6–8 NIV)!
Our freedom wasn’t free, because Jesus became the “atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 2:2 NIV) as He “‘bore our sins’ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness” (1 Peter 2:24 NIV).
The Son of God paid the price for our freedom, but Paul offers a very clear warning, saying, “don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature.” So what should we use our freedom to do? What Christ did: “Serve one another in love.”
So today, my brothers and sisters, whether you’re an American celebrating Independence Day or you’re from any other nation or tribe on earth, if you’ve been set free from the chains of sin and death, use this freedom to draw people to Christ, not away from Him. Use your freedom to serve others, not just yourself. Use the liberty found in Christ to gallantly stream the light of Christ, not to satisfy selfish and sinful desires.
Remember and put into practice Paul’s word to the Corinthians: “‘Everything is permissible,’ but not everything is beneficial. ‘Everything is permissible,’ but not everything builds up. No one should seek his own good, but the good of the other person” (1 Corinthians 10:23–24 HCSB).
DIG: What does the freedom we have in Christ mean to you?
DISCOVER: How are you using your freedom today? Who are you using it to serve? God and others or yourself? Are you taking your freedom for granted?
DO: Take some time today to pray and sing songs of praise to God for setting us free, and ask Him to help show you ways to use your freedom to serve others every single day.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.