Freedom and the Pursuit of It

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.  - Galatians 5:1

When I was a police officer down in Texas, I came into contact with people every day who had made poor decisions. After all, it was the poor decisions that orchestrated our meetings. Most of these individuals were quite aware of their intent to break the law, but many were ignorant of any law they had broken. Many times I took the opportunity to educate people on not only what the law said, but why it was in place and the good it brought by following it. I also had the privilege of discretion in charging someone with breaking the law. I would often write warning tickets for traffic violations or simply choose to not arrest the person for the crime, I would always urge the person to consider what they have done and allow our interaction to be a learning opportunity to be a more productive member of society and enjoy their freedom as opposed to incarceration.

The interesting thing about being a pastor and a former police officer is the two relate quite well. Although being a police officer has to do with secular things, there are some great applications to our walk with Jesus. Paul points out in Galatians 5 that if our faith is in Christ we have been set free from the burden of slavery that comes with sin. Jesus has done that for us. But he also urges us to not submit to those things that got us in trouble to begin with. It's like telling a criminal not to go back to that way of life once they have been released. So often, however, I would contact people who just couldn’t leave the old life of crime behind. Their response when being caught again would be “I just don’t know how.”
Sometimes as believers we find ourselves in a similar situation spiritually. The Bible is very clear on many sins that lead to bondage and it is easy to know the dangers of them. But what about those that the Bible does not specifically name? There are a lot of issues that scripture does not specifically mention and sometimes we are ignorant about.

I recently came across some great advice for this in Jerry Bridges book The Pursuit of Holiness. Bridges shares four questions to ask when seeking God’s direction in such areas of our life.
  1. "All things are lawful for me," but not all things are helpful.
     Question: Is this helpful- physically, spiritually and mentally? 
  2. "All things are lawful for me," but I will not be dominated by anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12 Question: Does this bring me under its power?
  3. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble. 1 Corinthians 8:13
     Question: Does it hurt others or unreasonably temp them? 
  4. So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31
     Question: Does it glorify God?

These are great questions to ask about everything we do because we are called to live the life of freedom that Christ has purchased for us. It also allows us to enjoy the benefits of freedom in Christ that we have been given. May we stand firm in our freedom!

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