April 19, 2019
Choose to Live Free
"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 (NIV)
I ran as quickly as I could across the field to find my husband, Richard. Large hay bales, wrapped in strong twine, were fed to mama cows during the cold winter. Though the twine was carefully cut and gathered, some had been left behind. A calf became tangled in the twine, and was in danger. I had tried my best to unravel him, but to no avail.
A few minutes later, Richard and I gently pulled at the twine, cutting here and there. It took several minutes to release the gnarled and twisted cord from the calf's legs and midsection. When we finished, we doctored the places where the string cut into tender flesh. Then we released him to his mama.
The calf raced across the field, his tail in the air. He was free!
In Galatians 5, Paul is challenging believers who are tangled in man-made rules to take a different path. Jewish teachers and leaders added hundreds of commandments to keep the law of Moses. Remembering them is a burden. Keeping them borders on impossible!
With these words, Paul invites them to stand firm so they can run free: "Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery" (Galatians 5:1b).
Standing firm means they refuse to replace Jesus' sacrifice with a long list of man-made rules and expectations. As they stand firm in the liberty of Jesus' love, they exchange these for the redemptive power of the cross.
Standing firm in Jesus' love cuts the cords for anyone trapped in bondage from man-made teachings. It untangles a desire to point fingers at others who aren't as "good" as they are. It relieves them of shame that winds around their heart, though they try as hard as they can to follow every regulation.
When we get tangled in rules, we let go of Jesus.
We get tied up as we become the author of our own righteousness, trying to earn our way to God.
This never works.
If you've found yourself snarled in man-made rules and expectations, stand firm as you remember these truths. Because of the cross and your belief in Jesus:
- You are free from the burden of earning your way to relationship with Him.
- You are free from guilt and condemnation.
- You are free from the penalty of sin, because Jesus paid the price on your behalf.
Today we remember Jesus' ultimate sacrifice on the cross that Friday so long ago. As we do, we can receive the gift of freedom Jesus gave us through the cross.
In that one act, He offers forgiveness, redemption and the power of His presence inside of us. So, on the days you're tempted to beat yourself up because you fall short, choose to fall into relationship instead. There is freedom as you stand firm in His incredible gift. There is freedom as you follow Him daily and grow in your relationship with Him.
There is freedom as you live in relationship with Him, and nothing else comes close.
Dear Jesus, if there is any teaching or belief that has me knotted up and entangled, lead me back to You. Remind me of the cross and all that You did so I might live free! Thank You for conquering the hold of sin on my behalf. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Acts 15:10, "Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear?" (NIV)
Romans 6:14, "Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God's grace." (NLT)
Romans 8:15, "For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!'" (ESV)
In Come With Me: Discovering the Beauty of Following Where He Leads, Suzie Eller shares how faith felt complicated, and how to rediscover freedom in following Jesus.
There's still time to get a FREE month of COMPEL Training when you join by midnight tonight, April 19! Today's devotion author, Suzie Eller, works with COMPEL, an online membership site designed for writers just like you. You'll get support and writing advice from professionals in the field, as well as access to exclusive insight from publishers and a catalog of vetted vendors such as social media experts and designers. Don't wait ... start making your writing goals a reality today! Sign up now!
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Rules often serve a purpose but are not a substitute for a relationship with Jesus. Write down one man-made rule or impossible expectation you've placed on your faith. Invite God to take these from you in exchange for freedom.
As today is Good Friday around the globe, tell us about how you're intentionally pausing or planning to thank God for the work He has done on the cross, freeing you from any man-made bondage. Share in the comments!
© 2019 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.