Australians often define freedom as doing what you want, when you want. In our highly consumeristic and individualistic society freedom is all about following your desires which, as many can attest to, will have significant repercussions for those around us. Last week I was reading a book called The Disciple by Lucy Peppiatt when I came across this quote:
“The concept of Christian freedom is not actually about following God’s rules or not following God’s rules. It is about desire…. Laws and rules are good in that they show us what is right and wrong, provide us with moral standards, and can be protective as well as restrictive. The problem with laws and rules is that they are powerless to change our desires. This is a matter of the heart. The Christian concept of freedom is that we are freed as our desires begin to conform to God’s desire, for ourselves, and for others, and this is a work of the Spirit (p 54-55)
Peppiatt suggests that freedom isn’t experienced in following our own desires; rather freedom is experienced when our desires conform to God’s desires for ourselves and for others. This passage is a great illustration of that. God’s desire is that all should come before him with a clean conscience, and our ‘rights’ individually should not get in the way of another’s experience of life in Christ. Freedom in Christ seeks to bring about freedom for others, where necessary by giving up what we might deserve for their sake. We have an incredible model of this in Jesus Christ, giving up his life for the sake of you and me.
Today, it is worth considering; do we live out our freedom in Christ or are we chained by the idols of our day? Perhaps we could reflect on the idols of comfort, greed, control, approval, power and family that we covered earlier this year. What is it that you may have a right to, that you might need to choose to give up for the sake of another brother or sister in Christ?