As my 13 year-old son, Benjamin, and I walked out of the library, an older man slowly limped through the entrance. As we passed by one another Ben noticed that the man was wearing a Vietnam Veteran’s hat. Ben stopped and said, “Thank you for your service, sir.” The man turned and took Ben by the hand and told him, “Thank you for saying that young man.” He was clearly moved. Walking to the car Ben remarked, “Mom, they weren’t treated very well when they came home from the war.”
I couldn’t help thinking of this story as I read through the book of Galatians this week.
For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:13-14 NLT)
Do we consciously think about loving and serving our neighbors as we go about our daily lives? Or do we compartmentalize and check a box when we deliver food to a food bank or volunteer at church? When we truly love our neighbors as ourselves we serve with love. We love in word, in action and in deed.
Throughout Galatians Paul encourages us to stop our fruitless efforts to earn our salvation by following the Law. God has given us incredible freedom in the gift of forgiveness through Christ’s death on the cross. When we accept His sacrifice His redeeming love does something amazing—it changes our hearts. We are then compelled to love as Jesus loves, His love overwhelms our hearts.
Paul teaches us that it is all about faith, love and transformation; a transformation that occurs as we encounter Christ. Through this relationship our hearts change and soften. Through this relationship, hearts that would be selfish and self-focused are selfless and generous.
What is important is faith expressing itself in love. (Galatians 5:6 NLT)
What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation. (Galatians 6:15 NLT)
So what does this look like in our everyday lives? It’s simple and yet all encompassing. When God changes our hearts we…
Honor one another—just as my son Ben honored the war veteran.
Love one another—when we feel like it and when we don’t.
Serve one another—going the extra-mile whether we are asked to do so or not.
Real freedom is a freedom that only Christ can bring. This total freedom is a liberty of heart that enables us to love, honor and serve, and expect nothing in return. We do this knowing that God has given us the greatest gift we could ever receive, Himself.
How can you begin to take steps toward the total freedom that Christ is offering you? How have you seen this freedom transform your heart and change your life?
Angela is an inspirational speaker and writer who teaches the hard truths of God’s Word in a fun and relevant way. She is also a writing assistant to Joanna Weaver, author of Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World. Whatever she is doing, she has a passion to see spiritual growth and an increased sense of purpose in people’s lives. Angela and her husband Michael graduated from Northwest University in 1997 and have been married for 18 years and have 2 children. They currently live in Washington State.
You can follow her on her blog at No Ordinary Days, or on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.