"If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed" (John 8:36).
What does the Son make free to do? In simplest terms, to love God and others. "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another" (Galatians 5:13). While completely dependent on our Lord for the power to love, believers nevertheless make sublimely free choices of devotion to His glory and the benefit of people. Biblically defined love is not love at all without such freedom. The Psalmist perhaps most clearly described the Divine-union of devotion: "I will love Thee, o Lord my strength!" (Psalm 18:1). David determines to love God -"I will" - but he knows that God must motivate, lead, and empower such self sacrifice - "o Lord, my strength." Or as he further requested, "Uphold me with Thy free Spirit" (Psalm 51:12).
Originally created in God's image, and progressively changed into the spiritual and moral image of Christ, believers possess a breathtakingly beautiful capacity of liberty "to serve." We bow upon our knees to affirm our dependence, but we arise to "walk in love, as also Christ hath loved us and given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savor" (Ephesians 5:2). Thus, we expect many opportunities to make choices of self sacrifice, most of them involving small matters regarding attitude, perspective, words, deeds, and willingness to forego our own benefit for the pleasure of our Heavenly Father and the blessing of others. At the end of the day and of our lifetime, the Lord receives all the glory and honor for a life lived by His love. Nevertheless, we exercise our Christ-enabled freedom to the degree that we have a real role in the matter of relationship with God and others. He made us as persons in His image (Genesis 1:27). A vital aspect of this nature involves freely chosen determinations to walk in such a manner that through Christ, our love is authentic and free.
No other understanding of relationship and fellowship with God leads to our pleasing Him, blessing others, and knowing true fulfillment of heart, mind, and life. The computer upon which I type these words has no capacity for joy and peace because it exists as merely a programmed device. God made us rather for personal devotion, the fellowship of Heart to heart in our walk with Him, and heart to heart in our relationship with people. This is life and love as the Lord of life and love made us to be and to know with Him, in Him, and by Him. We do well to acknowledge such favor bestowed upon us in our creation, and liberated in us by our redemption.
"I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them."
"I will freely sacrifice unto Thee: I will praise Thy name, O LORD; for it is good."
"Freely ye have received, freely give."
Weekly Memory Verse
"Put them in fear, O LORD: that the nations may know themselves to be but men."