Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Live and love freely

"Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you. I am emphatic about this. The moment any one of you submits to circumcision or any other rule-keeping system, at that same moment Christ’s hard-won gift of freedom is squandered. ...

I suspect you would never intend this, but this is what happens. When you attempt to live by your own religious plans and projects, you are cut off from Christ, you fall out of grace. Meanwhile we expectantly wait for a satisfying relationship with the Spirit. For in Christ, neither our most conscientious religion nor disregard of religion amounts to anything. What matters is something far more interior: faith expressed in love. ...

It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?

My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. ..."

{Galatians 5 from "The Message"}

These verses have been on my mind lately. I've needed to hear them. And, honestly, I've been wanting to print them on little slips of paper to distribute nearly everywhere I go.

But perhaps that would defeat the purpose.

It seems we're all too concerned with other people's business. Yes, I believe we're better off when we live in a community that truly shares life. I don't know where I would be without my friends.

But I'm not so sure telling each other how to life is the best way, even when we share core beliefs. And by "each other" I mean on the Internet, down the street, in the grocery story, in your own home, around the people you love, and near people you don't know very well.

Whether we depend on an iPhone to effectively work-from-home while mothering, carry a mobile office in our pocket so we can run a company while maintaining fairly normal hours, or not claim loyalty to a smart phone doesn't determine our worth.

Organic foods are great. If you can't eat wheat, I'm glad there are gluten-free options. Homecooked meals are delicious. Restaurants give another option that sometimes saves the evening. I like, er, love Diet Dr Pepper. Yes, our bodies are temples created by the Maker of the world, but scare tactics aren't the way to changing anyone's eating habits, much less their hearts.

The number of kids you have. Your schooling decisions. What and how much you let your kids watch a TV or any other screen. Country living versus city living. All of these things are topics on which many of us are passionate. Us, yes. Me included. Sometimes I catch myself thinking I have a better idea. And certainly I have wished people would have judged my decisions less. For me, it's a balance between personal decisions and holy convictions.

I'm realizing loving is more convincing than persuading or defending. Like I tell my 6-year-old girl, "Just because our family does it this way doesn't mean everyone does."

Sometimes we just have to tumble through life and listen for God to guide us because what everyone else is doing may not be what we're supposed to be doing. So, yes, live freely, love deeply, and trust the Maker of it all. 

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