Break Free

Galatians 5:1-26

Galatians 5:1 “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.”

I believe we would all agree that slavery is bad, but would we all be able to say… we may all be enslaved by the things of this world, by those around us, and yes, even by ourselves, by our thoughts, by our actions.

There is a song by “Simple Plan” called “Welcome to My Life” and it starts with, “Do you ever feel like breaking down, Do you ever feel out of place, Like somehow you just don’t belong, And no one understands you? Do you ever want to run away, Do you lock yourself in your room? I have felt this way at times in my life and I believe this is the type of slavery Paul is talking about here. What Paul is saying is that Christ has set us free to love, yes, to let go of our fears, of our doubts, of our need to fit in, and that we are allowed to love and to be loved as who we are.

Galatians 5:4 “You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. But by faith we eagerly await through the spirit the righteousness for which we hope… the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through hope.”

What does it mean to try to justify oneself through the law? Could it be following the rules, the norms of those around us… are these the laws we are making, social laws? Are we alienating those who are different from ourselves, who don’t agree with us, who wish us ill will? And in the process are we alienating ourselves from Christ?

Simple Plan goes on to say “No you don’t know what it’s like, When nothing feels alright, You don’t know what it’s like to be like me, To be hurt, To feel lost, To be left out in the dark, To be kicked when you’re down, And feel like you’ve been pushed around, To be on the edge of breaking down, And no one’s there to save you. No you don’t know what it’s like. Welcome to my life.

Galatians 5:7-9 “You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.

Galatians 5:14 “The entire law is summed up in a single command. Love your neighbor as yourself. If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”

We are scarred by those around us and sometimes by ourselves… and we feel hurt, lost, and left out in the dark. But, when we are in that place do we scar those around us? Richard Rohr says “If we do not transform our pain, we will reflect it back to others.”

I pray this day that if you find yourself feeling hurt, lost, and left out in the dark that you remember the single command. Love your neighbor! And, if you find yourself reflecting your pain to others that you remember the single command to Love Your Neighbor!

Precious Father, Loving God, Holy Spirit I pray that I am not enslaved by this world and that as I follow the laws of those around me I remember your single command to Love my neighbor! AMEN.

Jim Dietvorst

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