To wear a bikini or not. To watch TV or not. To drink alcohol or not. To go shopping recreationally or not.
All questions that have buzzed around in my head, leaving me uneasy and weighing me down at various points in my life.
I read scripture one day and think, “No, I’ll not do that. And really, no one should.”
No sooner do I arrive at this conclusion than God humbles me by putting in my path a Jesus-loving, Spirit-filled Believer who is doing these same things out of, what certainly seems to be, a pure heart.
Therein lies the tension.
What do I do? Do I judge my sister in Christ for her actions? Do I lay my “laws” upon her like yoke? Do I tell her she must be like me?
No. This is not the gospel. This is not the way of Jesus.
So do I change how I live? Do I ignore that to which God is calling me in an effort to seem non-judgmental?
And again, the tension. Do you feel it?
But there’s more to the story.
God, in His grace, has given us something better than laws and regulations. He has given us, what He calls freedom.
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1 (ESV)
And it’s glorious.
Through my struggles with the thoughts, questions and scenarios described above, I believe He has opened my eyes to some wisdom in this area.
Freedom in Christ is not freedom to sin. In fact, sin is the opposite of freedom. A discerning believer would never confuse the two.
We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ, we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also share His new life. Romans 6:6b-8 (NLT)
But, like the things I mentioned above, some areas aren’t so cut and dried. They have more to do with one’s heart than one’s actions.
Freedom in Christ is freedom to live fully, to enjoy creation, and ultimately to do almost anything, as long as it is done with a pure heart and a pure conscience, for God’s glory, with other’s interests taken into consideration above your own. The Bible will help you with this.
Freedom in Christ is freedom to unreservedly submit to the Holy Spirit’s promptings in your life, walking in His ebb and flow,
Freedom in Christ is also freedom to not do what your friends are doing, even if you believe their hearts are right before God. You get to be who He is calling you to be without apologizing, as do they. Don’t miss that. I often have.
There is no guilt for the Believer, and no “law” save for the law of love.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2 (ESV)
As you press into God in a free-flowing, rooted-in-truth relationship with Him, He will guide you. Trust Him. Don’t withhold from Him when He asks you to make a change, and yet fully enjoy the freedom to which He has called you. You will see a clear line in the sand as you walk with Him, and you will delight in staying within His loving parameters.
So go forth in this freedom. Know it’s depth. Experience the release of following and loving Jesus alone.