It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Gal 5:1
In one of the most iconic movie scenes of all time, Mel Gibson’s character, William Wallace, raises a battle cry for freedom. There is a longing for freedom in the heart of humanity. Freedom to live fully, freedom to choose right over wrong, freedom to be the best version of ourselves. Strangely enough, the church at Galatia was choosing of their own free will to go back under a yoke of slavery to legalism.
Every human ever born, is born under the yoke of slavery to sin and death. In our warped state, we imagine that freedom means doing whatever we feel like at the moment with no regard for others around us. Then, as we realize that doesn’t work, we decide that making rules and trying to keep them is the path to pleasing God. Anyone who has ever gone on a diet to lose weight knows what that is all about. We follow the latest diet fad with all its rules, only to find ourselves unable to continue after a few hours or days. Trying to keep the Law in our flesh is the same thing..
The churches of Galatia had apparently heard that the best way to please God was to be circumcised and keep the Law. And so they took on the heavy burden of trying to be externally good, all the while knowing that nothing changes on the inside when all we do is chase a list of do’s and don’ts. Paul tells us that this is a different gospel – actually no gospel at all. There is no good news in law keeping.
The freedom we find in Christ is different. It is a freedom which produces true love, joy, and peace. We have the freedom to rest in His righteousness instead of trying to make our own. We have the freedom to walk by the Spirit, who is producing the peaceful fruit of His life in our lives. In Christ we actually have the freedom to live fully, a freedom that is impossible for those who live apart from Christ.
Oh be sure – it is a battle of the flesh vs the Spirit. It is a battle that we will fight for the rest of our lives and sometimes it will be like one of those bloody clashes in Braveheart, leaving us battered and weary . But what we practice, we grow good at. If we practice the deeds of the flesh they will grow and we will harvest their bitter fruit. If we practice walking by the Spirit we will feast on the sweet fruit of a life lived to the glory of God. It really is a simple walk in the Spirit – not easy but simple. Walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh- Gal 5:16.