Thanksgiving. What is the first thing that comes to mind when you read or hear that word? Is it a day, a family meal, or perhaps a specific menu of foods? Is it an attitude that comes and goes based on how you feel? Or is it a way of life which flows from you regardless of your circumstances? These devotions I will be sharing this month were originally written throughout November 2019 and then edited/updated during the summer of 2020 for a 31 day devotional journal, “The Heart of Thanksgiving: Living a Life of Thankfulness”. I will be re-sharing them here this month to encourage each of us to pursue a greater spirit of thankfulness in all we do.
Here is day twenty-five with an important reminder that living with a heart of thanksgiving should cause us to be thankful for freedom which is used to serve one another.
Thankful For the Freedom To Serve
“You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature ; rather, serve one another in love.”
Galatians 5:13 (NIV)
Today I am thankful for the freedoms I enjoy in Christ. While our culture works tirelessly to convince each of us that freedom is all about doing whatever we want regardless of how it impacts others, God says that true freedom is all about being able to serve others according to their need. I am thankful that Christ continually frees me from the pride and selfishness that would keep me from serving others. I am thankful for the freedom to say no when an expected action would cause harm to someone’s faith. I am thankful for the confidence I have in Christ which gives me freedom from having to prove myself to others. I am thankful for the freedom I have to ask God for wisdom, knowing He will supply it without finding fault.
It seems that the Christian culture has an ever-increasing lust for the world’s definition of freedom. We do whatever we want, whatever we like, and whatever we enjoy with little to no thought about whether it is bringing glory to God or simply indulging our sinful nature. Many are quickly dismissing the old standards of purity, integrity, and righteousness as being outdated and no longer “in touch” with the culture. And I’m not talking about standards created by our parents or grandparents; no, I’m talking about the standards found in God’s Word. It is in this context that I am thankful to have the freedom to hold fast to what God says whether anyone else finds it fashionable or not. I am thankful for godly examples of people who live with integrity in the midst of a broken world.
As you pray, ask God to remind you of both the freedom you have and of His purpose for that freedom. Pray that you would keep your eyes fixed on Jesus as you consider how to use your freedom to serve others. Pray about how you can use the various abilities and talents that you have in order to serve others in the name of Jesus. Pray for a willingness to allow God to define the freedom that you have and how you use that freedom. Pray that the people around you would see Jesus in the way you serve.
I pray that you and I would fully value the freedom we have in Christ. I pray that we would use that freedom to love people just as Christ loves us. I pray that we would be honest with ourselves when we examine our motives and how we use our freedom. I pray for a spirit of conviction when we project our sinful desires onto others in order to justify using our freedoms to indulge our own desires. I pray that we would ask God to open our eyes each day to specific ways we can use our freedom to serve others.