1 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.
(Galations 5:1 The Message)
We begin today with a very succinct message - if you are declared to be free, walk free! One of the greatest privileges we enjoy within the United States are the many "liberties" we are granted by our Constitution. The very basis of our country's existence came out of the struggle for freedom - from religious bondage, overbearing taxes, insufficient work opportunities, expensive luxuries, etc.
Now, if we were just to look upon those "freedoms" as "nice" and then live in the same bondage our founding fathers were trying to escape when coming to this country, wouldn't it be silly? In this entire book of Galations, Paul has laid out the plan to have anyone who has been declared "free" to live exactly as a "free person".
Paul emphasizes who sets us free - Christ. No other person or set of works has accomplished this freedom.
The purpose of us being set free - to live a free life. In other words, we don't return again to those things which do nothing more than entrap us in enslaving thoughts, empty rituals, or unwise actions.
In the end, the goal of our freedom is to simply be able to stand - stand strong! Does someone really embrace freedom and then actually prefers to go back to bondage? It is not likely. Yet, there are multiple examples of "tasting freedom" and "slipping back into bondage" in the world around us. For example, we use the term, "He fell of the wagon", to describe one who has known days of sobriety and then returned to the "demon alcohol". In scripture, there are examples of the awfulness of returning to bondage - in fact, it is like a "dog returning to its vomit". That paints a picture, huh?
So, how do we avoid the tendency to "return" to a place of bondage in our lives? Let's take our "hint" from what Paul tells us - don't LET anyone PUT a harness of slavery on you. Two key words: Let and Put. Let: we allow or permit it - we actually "grant" the access. Put: to place under the power of something or someone - we allow or grant someone or something the access, giving them the "authority" to take the position of "power" in our lives.
The first tiny word "let" carries a big punch - it can occur through intentional thought and unconscious awareness. We actually "grant access" to many things in our lives - some very specifically, others very passively. Those who enjoy freedom are those who learn to specifically "grant access" to certain thought patterns, specific edifying activities, etc. Those who drift back into "bondage" take a more passive approach to restricting access into their mind, will and emotions.
The second tiny word "put" carries as significant of a punch as the first - the process of harnessing an animal involves the activity of an external force placing the harness upon the unsuspecting animal. Did you ever stop to think what a horse must think the first time he is harnessed? I can go to the silly side here: "Wow! Now doesn't this fine strapping, leather and metal just look dandy upon me?" Or I can go to the pretty serious side: "Uh oh! I am not going to like where this is taking me!" The first response shows a lack of awareness of the "effect" of the harness - the second gives insight into being led where one does not exactly want to go!
Learning how to control what we "let" influence us is part of rejecting the things people would want to "put" on us which are not specifically going to allow us to stand strong.