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Across the Pastor’s Desk: Let God empower you to survive

Across the Pastor’s Desk by Matt Griggs

Matt Griggs

 

“For Freedom Christ has set us free …” Galatians 5:1.

We live in a land that prides itself in freedom.

Our commercials boldly proclaim, “No boundaries.”

It doesn’t matter what the product, topic or situation is, Americans have a great tendency to announce that “We are free and nothing is going to hold us down!”

A good question to ask though, “For what are free?”

Are you free just to be free or have you been given a purpose for your freedom?

One of Paul’s biggest themes is wrestling with these guides for our moral and ethical choices.

He envisions our Christian walk as both rejoicing in what we leave behind as believers in Jesus while plunging our lives into new work and responsibilities out of love and compassion. Martin Luther’s preaching and teaching also centered on this topic.

He stated in his famous work “The Freedom of a Christian,” “A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject of all, subject to all.”

This tension of freedom is the heart of Jesus’ teaching about Christian service and serving others. Jesus often critiqued the priest and Levite who put their liturgical duties ahead of their love for one another.

In the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 11), true freedom was responding to the stranger in need. One could say Jesus’ critique is that the priest and Levite were that they were so “heavenly bound that they were no Earthly good.”

Freedom for doing good is our responsibility, not a freedom not to act.

Contemplating questions about our Christ given freedom and responsibility is not for the faint of heart. It can involve some challenges and soul searching for young and old.

As Jesus and the Holy Spirit draw us into greater opportunities to share God’s love, open your eyes and ears to the needs around you. Freedom means no standing still in the church or the kingdom of God. As the days grow longer and brighter, let God draw us in and empower us to serve.

Matt Griggs is the pastor of Central Freeborn Lutheran Church.