Galatians 4:7 “So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.”
Galatians 4:9 “But now that you know God – or rather are known by God – how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?”
Galatians 4:16 “Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?”
I feel these verses so deeply in every part of me these days. Why do we keep putting ourselves back into our chains? Why do we do this? Why can’t we actually live free? We are no longer slaves.
I told a student this past weekend that as much as we do not want to admit it, we want our chains. Because if we were actually free, so much more would be required of us.
How many people actually live free? Who is a person that you would describe as living free?
If we are “in chains” we are stuck. Think about the imagery of that. We cannot embrace our fullest potential – because we cannot move. We cannot chase it. We cannot change the world; we cannot travel and spread the gospel. We cannot maximize our God-given effectiveness.
This sounds disappointing, as if we don’t want it. But it is something else too: safe.
Because if we are real, embracing our identity, going wholeheartedly after our dreams, increasing our effectiveness? That is scary stuff. It is risky.
If I just stay right where I am, even if it is in chains, I at least know it. And I am numb – not at risk of experiencing failure, rejection, disappointment.
I heard someone speak last weekend about living out of a victim mentality. She said, “I counted myself defeated before I even tried anything.” She gave the analogy of admitting defeat before ever stepping onto the battlefield. And she said, “the term ‘Christian victim’ is an oxymoron.” We don’t get to be victims anymore, because we have already been declared victorious.
And just like in other areas of life, when we numb one thing we numb it all. Choosing to be in chains to avoid disappointment or potential risk means avoiding and numbing everything else too – potential success, love, hope, JOY, actual effectiveness, abundant life, freedom. To stay chained may keep you safe, but you will never be free.
And seriously, scary freedom? So much better than safe and comfortable slavery – isn’t it?
I catch myself sometimes when I start preaching freedom, because it is so easy outside of a hard circumstance. I can look at you and say, “You are free – live like it!!” when I don’t know your circumstances. But when I hear your story, sometimes I back off a little, not wanting to sound like I am offering a quick-fix platitude. It is fair to respond with, “Easy for you to say, you don’t know my chains. You don’t know what I have been through. It is not that easy to let them go.”
Which is where verse 16 comes in: “Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?” Our world is not friends with Truth anymore. They have decided to Grease her like Sandy and make her exactly what they want her to be. We’ve made Truth look just like us.
We have done this with freedom. We have taken away freedom’s power in our lives, and given it all to our chains. Guess what – I don’t care how mad at me you get; freedom is your reality. Not your chains. Give the power back where it belongs. Paul says in verse 9: “How is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces?” The things that keep you in chains? You can overcome them in the power of Jesus’ name. Believe it.
We know the truth cognitively; we can regurgitate it. But we so often do not actually believe it. We do not let it transform us:
Jesus came. Lived a perfect life. Died on the Cross. Was buried and rose from the dead three days later. He conquered death so that you could live.
IF THAT DOESN’T GET YOU PUMPED I DO NOT KNOW WHAT WILL.
He came SO THAT we could be FREE. Not just for eternity, which is incredible, but for the here and now. For our sake He endured the cross, so that we could have full access to the Father. So that we can live in this scary but beautiful freedom.
My hard and scary question is this: If you cannot loose your chains – what are you not believing about the gospel? Have you made it small? Have you lessened its power?
Jesus came not so you could remain in chains, but so you could be free to live abundant life in Him.
So read these verses again, with this reminder of your freedom:
“Now that you know God – or rather are known by God – how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?”
Look friend, I am just as guilty of this as any other person. I realized recently how I pray with the mindset that God won’t actually say yes. He won’t actually free that person, heal that person, etc. Why the heck am I even praying then? We have to believe He is who He says He is, and can do what He says He can do.
God wants to free you – in fact, He already has. Your chains are actually unlocked – just take them off and leave them behind. Walk gloriously and confidently into this scary but beautiful freedom.