“It is for freedom that Christ set us free.
We celebrate our freedom as Americans:
Life. Liberty. Pursuit of happiness.
We celebrate our freedom as followers of Jesus:
Abundant life. Spiritual liberty. Pursuit of joy that far exceeds happiness.
Our American founding fathers believed that people had the right for this pursuit of happiness. But in Jesus, we find that our pursuit is for so much more than mere external, circumstantial happiness.
Our freedom in Jesus offers opportunity to pursue joy. Joy goes hand in hand with the rest that weary moms desire. Joy and rest are the result of walking in the freedom that only Jesus can offer.
However, as with most aspects of the Christian life, there appears to be a paradox. The freedom Jesus offers actually involves giving up your rights.
Freedom to Stop Striving
“Therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1b)
Give up you your right to perform to receive approval.
This yoke of slavery is an effort to receive hope, love, and approval through your actions. These efforts cannot bring you happiness. You are free to stay in that yoke if you prefer. But if Jesus has set you free from this yoke, find joy and rest in knowing He loves you perfectly. You are free to stop striving.
Freedom to Serve People
“For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” (Galatians 5:13)
Give up your right to receive your own way.
The idea of the pursuit of happiness implies getting what you want. This breeds selfishness. In Jesus, you have the opportunity to give up this right. When you give up your insistence on receiving your own way, you are free to serve other people without expectation of receiving from them. You are free to serve.
Freedom to Surrender Fleshly Desire
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16)
Give up your right to fix yourself.
Self-improvement and self-reliance are the American way. The problem is that they do not work. Rather than doing what you want, you are free to live how the Holy Spirit wants. He produces His fruit in you so that your selfish desires no longer have control. Those fleshly desires – habits, reactions, behaviors – that you have been trying in vain to quit? In Jesus, you are free to surrender those desires and your efforts to stop them.
As we celebrate our freedom as Americans, let us not neglect to celebrate our freedom as Believers. Celebrate your freedom by pursuing true joy and rest.
What will you give up today to pursue that freedom?