You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. -Galatians 5:13
Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. -1 Peter 2:16
And whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. -Matthew 20:27-28
This weekend, American’s will be celebrating the 4th of July, which proclaims our independence and freedom. But often, I believe we miss what true freedom is and means according to Scripture. Regardless of how independent we may be externally, everyone is still a slave to something or someone. We are born slaves to sin according to Scripture with a propensity towards selfishness. Our sinfulness and selfishness are why we need a Savior; to set us free from our sin and deliver us from our selfishness. True freedom is not divorced from responsibility or found in indulging ourselves; it’s found instead in living for Christ and serving others.
At the mission organization I lead, we just developed a new 30-day devotional called Serve Like Jesus Would Serve: A personal engagement in the servant-hood of Jesus. It contains brief daily devotions, with a couple of points of practical application and one-sentence prayers. The 30 devotionals have been written by a combination of our National Leaders, staff, partners, and board members worldwide. If you would like a copy or more, click here: Serve Like Jesus Would Serve 30-Day Devotion. You can also sample some of the devotional content by viewing a sermon of mine called Serve as Jesus Would Serve found on Sermon Central.
Here is also a little snippet from a chapter on Being a Conduit of Hope for Others in my book Hope Rising: Finding Hope in a Turbulent Word. If we genuinely want to be free, we must learn to serve God by serving others practically.
“God is calling us to be servants who serve now! He invites us into the process of seeing miracles unfold. He calls us to be an “empty vessel” available for him to fill and use to bring hope to others in need. And it’s part of our healing and finding our hope restored. One way God delivers us from despair and depression is by us focusing on serving others. Here is how Isaiah 58:6-9 puts it:
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
If your hope is diminished, provide hope to others through your actions by meeting specific needs you see! Remember, when we stand before Jesus, we will be rewarded based on what we have done. And serving others in need is the way we serve Jesus and demonstrate our love for him. Jesus told us this in Matthew 25:31-36:
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
Jesus takes very personally how we treat others! That is why when we serve others in need, we are serving Jesus himself. That is a sacred privilege and responsibility! God wants to use ordinary people like you and me to become a conduit of hope for others through our actions.” (excerpt from Hope Rising, pages 129-130).