I have a tattoo of a feather on my right hand. When asked what it means, I often refer to Galatians 5:13, a verse that talks about freedom. While overseas in Costa Rica last year, I fell upon these words while reading in a coffee shop, and they jumped off the page. “For you, my brothers are called to be FREE. But do not use your freedom to indulge in flesh, rather serve one another humbly in Love.” Having had seen the way the church in my country tends to use Christianity as a political weapon for bigotry, I was refreshed by the statement that God spoke to us, giving instruction to simply Love. Though the feather represents the freedom mentioned in the verse, I’ve always resonated more with the part about serving in Love rather than, ironically, the part about freedom.
Though I know that I am indeed free, I’d be lying if I said that I actively walk in freedom that I’ve been given by God each day. I have this underlying belief that once I get my junk together and deal with deep emotional issues that I may have been avoiding, or once I get to a certain level of intimacy with God—then I will “obtain” freedom.
It’s not true.
Yesterday I listened to an amazing woman of God speak about freedom.
Here’s an obvious, but not always recognized fact about the freedom that Christ gives us:
We don’t earn it.
We don’t deserve it.
And too often, I’ve found, we don’t accept it.
There is a place in the middle of the desert in Israel west of the Dead Sea called En Gedi, a lush, strikingly beautiful oasis. It has natural barriers of mountains and landscape, while perfectly maintaining a self-sustaining environment within its walls.
Figuratively, this is where we are meant to live. This is what’s been given to us by the God of the universe, where we have everything we need and where we are safe.
We are protected, already. But we often build up additional walls to try and keep ourselves safe.
Either that or we’ll wander away from the blessings and abundance that we already have, thinking perhaps we can find something more suitable.
The words come, call and invitation are all of equal meaning in the Bible. So when Galatians 5:13 says we are called to be free, we are invited into freedom.
It’s already there!
The invitation is not into a life of legalism and duty, where we follow a list of religion so that God will not smite us. It’s His heart being offered to us, Him wanting us to come and join Him in all the good He has provided and planned for us. It’s not because God is partial to certain things over others, and his preference is for us to be a certain way. The Bible never talks about what is right or wrong, but rather what brings life or what brings death.
What He actually desires, the Loving Father that He is, is truly for us to be full of joy, life & freedom.
“Eternal One: If you are thirsty, come here;
come, there’s water for all.
Whoever is poor and penniless can still
come and buy the food I sell.
There’s no cost—here, have some food, hearty and delicious,
and beverages, pure and good.
I don’t understand why you spend your money for things that don’t nourish
or work so hard for what leaves you empty.
Attend to Me and eat what is good;
enjoy the richest, most delectable of things.”
Isaiah 55:1-2 (The VOICE)
This is what freedom is: my responsibility to abide, remain and enjoy what’s already been given to me.
I’ve felt a little hypocritical having this tattoo that claims I actively walk in freedom, when I know that too often, I feel I need to earn God’s attention.
I pray for myself and anyone else who relates to this—a shift in our thinking and an openness in our hearts, to release us of any pride that keeps us from accepting what has been freely given to us. I ask for forgiveness and repent of rejecting what Jesus did for me, because by rejecting the gift of freedom, I’m saying that it wasn’t good enough. I pray for boldness and humility, for me to lay myself down and realize that nothing I can come up with or try to obtain can compare to the incredible freedom that Christ has already given me. I pray that I will walk in freedom even if I don’t have anything together. I pray that I would abide in En Gedi.
“The Spirit and the Bride: Come. And let everyone who hears these words say,“Come.” And let those who thirst come. All who desire to drink, let them take and drink freely from the water of life.” Revelation 22:17 (The VOICE)