December 12, 2023

Tethers of Freedom

Galatians 5:1-26

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

—  Galatians 5:1

The former pastor of Roseland Christian Ministries tells a story of a man addicted to cocaine who asked his wife to lock him in the basement when she left for work. Locked in, he was often free of the hunger that drove him to sell anything in the house to feed his addiction. Some days he would still beat down a door or smash a window. But other days his wife would return and find him sleeping peacefully on the couch.

I read somewhere that we tend to define freedom as an absence of restrictions. I read somewhere else that freedom is not an absence of restrictions so much as choosing the right ones.

If we never belonged to Christ, we would be free of many obligations. But I know that would not be freedom.

One of the privileges of serving a church is to officiate at baptisms. In baptism, three promises are made: God promises to be faithful, the family promises to disciple and raise the baptized child, and the covenant community promises encouragement and support. A friend of mine thinks of those promises as tethers that bind us to each other. And those tethers give us freedom.

In Christ you are free to belong to God and his community, and to be the person God has called you to be.

Lord, thank you for the freedom of belonging to you in Christ. We freely belong so that we can love you, our neighbors, and your creation. Amen.

About the author — Joe Huizenga

Joe Huizenga serves as pastor and executive director of Roseland Christian Ministries in Chicago, Illinois. He and his wife, Cate, have four children.

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