Gal 4:22-24, 26-27, 31 – 5:1

What does it really mean to be given freedom? Most often, I think, when we reflect upon the meaning of freedom, if we ever do this, we think of the concept of ‘freedom’ as implying ‘freedom from some sort of constraint.’ In the context of Paul’s Letter to the Galatians the constraint we are considering is sin. However, I believe this is the wrong way to look at freedom as when humanity was first given freedom at the time of Creation there was no such reality as sin. Therefore ‘freedom’ was not ‘freedom from some sort of constraint’ but ‘freedom to embrace the love and will of God.’ Thus we should conceive of ‘freedom’ in a positive sense and not a negative sense. The freedom that God gives us at Creation and then again through our Redemption is a freedom that enables us to embrace our true identity and purpose of life, namely to seek and find him, our God.

In today’s world our focus when we theorize about ‘freedom’ is too caught up in secular and materialistic realities as freedom from constraints that stop us expressing who we are and what we want to be and do at the time of our choosing. This is a misplaced understanding and use of the freedom given us by God and more often than not will end in the abuse and sin of selfishness of one sort or another.

Jesus tells us in the Gospels that he cam to serve and not to be served. Here he is telling us that the proper and greater use of our freedom is found in loving and serving God and one another. Those who end their lives with the greatest satisfaction and fulfillment are those who have embraced this understanding and use of their freedom. Only when we discover this truth and live it for ourselves will we be able to fully appreciate it and embrace it. It is as though each of us needs to have a Copernican revolution where we discover the truth that the life and fulfillment revolves not around me but around learning to love and serve others. This is the innovation of the Gospel and the true expression of ‘freedom.’

What do I believe ‘freedom’ is? How do I express the freedom Christ has given me in the gift of my redemption from sin?

Jesus, you have lived the only fully free life in the history of the world – help me to embrace the gift of freedom as you see it and give it to me.