I really wanted this whole new series of blogs to combine some of my thinking from uni life with thinking about how we can live with real purpose, making a practical difference in the world and in the lives of those around us. And if I’m honest I was a bit stuck about what to write about today to start this whole thing off… But then I was reading the Bible (I find it’s a pretty decent place to start!) and came across this verse in Galatians:
‘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
I thought it was really interesting this came up after last time I spoke a bit about yoking ourselves to Christ and working with Him. Here it’s talking about freeing ourselves from the yoke of slavery; about these guys Paul’s writing to freeing themselves from the demands of the law they were so rigorously trying to keep. It’s about us freeing ourselves from the demands that tie us down; trying to fit in in a certain way, trying to become a certain type of person, or trying to achieve something for ourselves, but rather being fully free in the power of the spirit.
I thought this sounded amazing, so read on a bit and came across a verse just a little bit further on that says ‘The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love’(Galatians 5.6)
This is incredible.
The only thing that counts. So basically, the thing that’s really important when we’re living out our lives as Christians is this; to express our faith- our faith in Jesus who gives us this wonderful freedom- through love.
And faith isn’t just this intellectual thing that we read about in the Bible, its actually about living in the freedom of Christ- the amazing privilege we have to live in a way that isn’t tied down to all the expectations and pressures the world puts on us. It’s a living trust we have in God and his grace that expresses itself through love in our lives. It’s about trusting in a God who gave everything so that we could live in this amazing freedom, and as we begin to grasp more of what that means for us, love begins to overflow.
On a slightly less life changing scale… I have a student railcard which basically means for a small fee a year, I get discount on all my train journeys. Absolute genius invention in my opinion. Anyway I think Mr Railway-man (whoever he is) should probably be paying me commission for the number of people I persuade to buy railcards because I think they’re great and whenever I talk to people about travelling anywhere by train (great convo, eh?!) I like to make a point that buying a railcard would change their life. (For the record, I actually persuaded someone to buy one this morning.) This is a silly example, but do you get what I’m saying?! It’s this whole idea of love overflowing from the realisation of how amazing the freedom we have is. (in a similar way to how I tell everyone how amazing the railcard is because I love it and its saved me heaps of cash over the last few years…)
Practically how does this love look? At school, college, uni, work…wherever we might be…this can be as simple as making an effort to really look out for people; not joining in with gossip or speaking badly of people; random acts of kindness that brighten someone’s day… Who knows?! And other things like the big Slum Survivor weekend going on this weekend- big displays of love towards people we may not always know personally, but who are known, loved and are special to God.
Let this be an encouragement for us all… It is for freedom that we have been set free. Let’s stand firm in that freedom and from there express our faith through love.
I’m excited- I hope you are too!