“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.” Galatians 5:1
Do you have your bird yet? We bought our turkey yesterday and have it thawing in a cooler on our laundry room floor. Our menu for Thanksgiving Day will be very traditional, except that my dear husband will smoke our “culinary feature” to perfection from early that morning until it is ready to be brought in and carved. Sounds a bit barbaric put that way, but every morsel of that sacrificial bird will be enjoyed around the Siler table!
As we prepare for Thanksgiving Day, I invite you to join me in thinking about where you want your focus to be through the holidays. It seems that just about everyone is thankful for something, but I find that too often we forget to thank God as the Source of all that we possess. What’s the difference? When our focus is on our possessions, our thanks giving will be very limited and transitory. (As the saying goes: “Here today, gone tomorrow!”) However, when the focus of our thanks is on God as the Source of all we hold dear, the result is a quietness of mind and heart that rests in His gracious eternal provision.
With God in His proper place, consider this question: What are you thankful to God for? My mind immediately goes to a verse in one of Paul’s letters when I think about God and His kindness to me. Paul wrote his letter to encourage his friends at Galatia who had a problem with legalism infiltrating their church through false teachers. Angry at the hurt and confusion that had caused much suffering, Paul wrote very passionately in chapter five, verse one: “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!”
Having been freed by Christ from my past, I love showing this verse to clients who have been hurt, are weighed down with disappointment, or who carry deep regret for some of their past choices. What a beautiful picture we see of God’s gracious provision and design for all of His children! As we talk about Paul’s declaration to his friends, we talk about “freedom” at two levels. First we talk about what Christ freed us from:
- The burden of the law (referred to as “legalism” today, the false teachers insisted that the Galatians serve the old law, thereby negating what had been accomplished through Jesus’ death and resurrection.)
We are also freed from:
- Bondage to the sin that at one time consumed us.
- Condemnation to hell.
Since God never leaves us in a “void” we then talk about what we have been freed for (this is where I often get teary):
- Christ came to free us to live for, love and serve God with glad hearts!
Later, in verse 6 Paul added, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” I invite you to think about Christ’s gift of freedom won for you at a tremendous personal cost. Also, think about the privilege it is to live out our lives in faith, reflecting the grace-filled love we have received from Him.
Thankful? Oh my yes! Join me in celebrating our hard-won Freedom to His Glory!