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Something Beautiful: Freedom

Jesus brings forgiveness and freedom. He spoke about love and service, not dominance and submission. We can be free to do whatever God calls us to do, free of straining for selfish desires, free of guilt and shame, and it is beautiful.

Jesus' paid for our freedom so that we no longer need to be slaves; we are free. Not free to follow selfish desires. but free to love one another. The greatest commandment is "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself." (Matthew 22: 37-39).

Jesus is the vine and we are the branches; he gives us love so that we may bear fruit that will last. If an individual is not bearing the fruit of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control - then they are likely not plugged into the vine, not filled with Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22). A person, man or woman, who is impatient, impulsive, unkind, stingy, selfish, unfaithful, rough, abusive, violent or lacking in self-control is not bearing the fruit of the spirit. "If you act like wild animals, hurting and harming each other, then watch out, or you will completely destroy one another (Galatians 5:13-15). Is this person using freedom as an opportunity to satisfy selfish desires, instead of loving and serving others? (Galatians 5:13). The Bible says that some may not obey the message. If so, we are to admonish or warn them as fellow believers (2 Thessalonians 3:15). A good leader or organization would admonish the offender and protect the victim.

We can identify a corrupt person by their actions (Matthew 7:17). If an organization holds traditions that counter the Bible, they are dishonouring God. Jesus criticized the religious leaders of his day saying, "You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions. You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions" (Mark 7:8-9). Are your traditions showing love, respect and consideration for others? Do you follow traditions that give power to one group and limit the power of others? Do your traditions limit the freedom of people of different genders, races, or orientations? Have you put your traditions ahead of the most important commandment, to love one another?

Jesus spoke against a hierarchy where preference and privilege were given to some and not others. "Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and servant of all." (Mark 9:35). In fact, Jesus says he did not come to make us slaves to obey commands (John 15:15). Jesus came to show us the love of God, he demonstrates love through serving. Do you act like a servant to both women and men?

Man is not intended to dominate and enslave one another, but to love and serve. Both men and women are called to live as free people (1 Peter 2:16). Jesus himself said he was anointed "to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and give freedom to those who are oppressed". (Luke 4:17-21). This freedom is for all people, regardless of race or gender, and it is beautiful.

May you live as free people!

woman in field

Elaine Ricker Kelly Author is empowering women with Christian fiction about women in the Bible and early church and Christian blogs about women in leadership, church history and doctrine. Her books include:

  • Forgotten Followers from Broken to Bold

  • The Sword A Fun Way to Engage in Healthy Debate on What the Bible Says About a Woman's Role

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