Freedom Series: Don’t be Stupid with Your Freedom
Text: Gal 5:13-26
It has been said that there are only two things that are truly infinite; the universe and human stupidity and we are not so sure about the first one.
What is it about us that when we get a good thing we are so good at messing it up and losing it due to our own stupidity?
A great example of this is a certain office assistant got a brand new computer and after some panic due to the computer not working she phones tech support:
As she gets through see tells the tech support that she is having trouble with her Word program. The tech guys asks what kind of problems?
"Well, I was just typing along, and all of a sudden the words went away."
"Hmm. So what does your screen look like now?"
"It's blank; it won't accept anything when I type."
"Are you still in WordPerfect, or did you get out?"
"How do I tell?"
"Can you see the C:\ Drive on the screen?"
"What's a sea-dive?"
"Never mind. Can you move the mouse around on the screen?"
"There isn't any mouse: I told you, it won't accept anything I type."
"Does your monitor have a power indicator?"
"What's a monitor?"
"It's the thing with the screen on it that looks like a TV. Does it have a little light that tells you when it's on?"
"I don't know."
"Well, then look on the back of the monitor and find where the power cord goes into it. Can you see that?"
....."Yes, I think so."
"Great! Follow the cord to the plug, and tell me if it's plugged into the wall."
....."Yes, it is."
"When you were behind the monitor, did you notice that there were two cables plugged into the back of it, not just one?"
"Well, there are. I need you to look back there again and find the other cable."
....."Okay, here it is."
"Follow it for me, and tell me if it's plugged securely into the back of your computer."
"I can't reach it."
"Uh huh. Well, can you see if it is?"
"Even if you maybe put your knee on something and lean way over?"
"Oh, it's not because I don't have the right angle-it's because it's dark."
"Yes-the office light is off, and the only light I have is coming in from the window."
"Well, turn on the office light then."
"No? Why not?"
"Because there's a power outage."
"A power... A power outage? Aha! Okay, we've got it licked now. Do you still have the boxes and manuals and packing stuff your computer came in?"
"Well, yes. I keep them in the closet."
"Good! Go get them and unplug your system and pack it up just like it was when you got it. Then take it back to the store you bought it from."
"Really! Is it that bad?"
"Yes, I'm afraid it is."
"Well, all right then, I suppose. What do I tell them?"
"Tell them you're too stupid to own a computer."
The reality is that we are in danger of bringing this same stupidity to our Christianity; when we are given the freedom Christ offers yet through our own stupidity we enslave ourselves to old ways. I want to address that this morning.
Last week we looked at what it meant to be free this week I want to help us walk in that freedom. To do that let’s see what Paul says about it in Gal 5:13-26.
Paul is continuing from his argument for Christian freedom that he has presented to the Galatians church and in this he says
The reality is as a Christian you are called to be free and so the calling is to walk in that freedom and not to, as Paul encourages us to do so, indulge the flesh.
Why must we avoid indulging our flesh? Because if we do so we are in danger of enslaving ourselves to that nature all over again.
We have been given a great gift and we are called not to be stupid with this great gift that Christ has won for U.S. through His death and resurrection!
Paul calls us to rather live differently; don’t indulge the flesh rather serve each other in love. Because when we are serving one in love we are fulfilling everything that God has desired of us.
The problem (or maybe the reality) is that we who have given our lives to Christ and who have been renewed by the Grace of God; we have two natures.
The first nature I want to look at this morning is;
What is the flesh nature; it is that which was part of your old life before you came to Christ. The weird thing about being a Christians is that this nature persists within us even after the new life has been given to us.
But this nature is contrary to everything we now are; and when we live in it we feel weak and defeated and powerless. Because we are living lives that simply are not who we are.
We read about these in verse 19-21. Now the thing about when we didn’t know Christ we did these things and felt nothing about it. In fact our lives were probably consumed by the pursuit of one of these things.
We thought nothing about it. The reality is we were dead to the things of God and alive to these things.
But in Christ we died to that old nature and that old way of doing things; so going back to them cause a disconnect in us.
The problem is that we can engage our old way of doing things that we become enslaved again to aspects of this nature.
This robs us of our freedom of our joy and our power in the new life we have.
It’s kind of like owning a gas guzzling old car that always breaks down and is dented and nothing works like it should and someone comes as say you know what because I’m nice I’m going to give you a [your dream car] and I’ll pay for the petrol as long as you drive this car though.
But you take this car and leave it in the garage and take your old broken car and complain to everyone that it doesn’t work even though you have a perfectly working car in the garage.
It simply wouldn’t happen; yet this is what happens to us when we live in the flesh we abandon the power freedom and life of what Christ has won for us.
The other nature we have is
This is the new life that has been won for us through connecting to the death of Jesus Christ. It is the life empowered by His Spirit it is that fancy new car with unlimited petrol.
This nature desires to pursue the things of God and desires for you to become everything that God desires for you. It is typified by
“love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control.”
Paul says something interesting and purposed here he says the acts of the flesh are (in verse 19) but the fruit of the Spirit (in verse 22).
This is because we can only produce what is destructive and fleshly. The things of the Spirit are only produced by the Spirit of God and are impossible without the empowering of the Spirit of God.
We have to see that the two natures within us are incompatible and we cannot chose to follow after both natures. In fact if we give licence to the flesh the flesh nature will betray us and destroy us.
And so we must walk in the new nature we must walk in the Spirit. Doing this is an act of faith. It is a declaration of faith and an act of faith.
We commit ourselves to be Spirit led and to walk in the Spirit.
How do we do this?
We walk in the Spirit by:
The only way we hold onto our freedom is to be actively follow after the leading of the Spirit of God. This is an act of faith from first to last.
Paul Speaks about this in verse 16
The our freedom is not meant to be used to indulge ourselves; for if we to do that we would quickly become slaves again to our flesh again. No we are called to be lead by the Spirit.
16So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.17For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.
Being led by the Spirit is allowing Him to conform your desires your actions and your words to God's will.
This is an act of faith and submission.
The question you have to ask yourself is can God lead me moment by moment day by day? The simple answer is absolutely; not only can He but He wants to!
God desires for His people to be filled with His Spirit so that they can be responders of His will!
Practically how does this look?
It's not that hard to grasp - but we make it hard... if you are led by someone you do what they say; you follow them.
Well being led by God is exactly that are you following what he is telling you to do?
And I mean in everything!
John 14:15 - He who loves me will obey my commandments. or if you say you love Jesus follow Him! be led by Him!
I cannot say I love Natalie if I'm ignoring the things that are important to her and if I am never doing the things she wants me to do.
So be led.
But walking in the Spirit is more than just being led it is also
I said this earlier; the Spirit produces fruit in our lives. again this is a product of being led and a faith thing again.
but let me ask you are you trusting God to give you what you need to do what he asks you to do.
How do we do this practically in our lives?
Well the enabling of the Spirit is a product of the leading of the Spirit.
It is as we become sensitive to His guiding and encouragement and leading so we become dependant upon His power.
We covered this somewhat last week. But to encourage you today; do not allow your fears and problems to hold you back. be lead by the Spirit of God and allow Him and not your own cleverness or strength to be what gets you through.
Allow Him to be your strength.
In this we will not gratify the desires of the flesh nature that we have and we will find more and more power to do what God has called us to.
So God has called you to a life that is free and powerful and significant; why spend it in that which you already knows leads to your destruction; pain and enslavement.
Church do not be stupid with the freedom that Christ has won for you. Rather fill your life with the Spirit!
Be led by Him and follow after His directing, allowing Him to empower you to do the things that He has called you to.
We need to see that the world we are called to needs people who are desperately sold out to God following His direction allowing His leading!