13 For you are called to freedom, brothers; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in one statement: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out, or you will be consumed by one another.
(Galatians 5:13-15, HCSB)
As a parent, I have certain rules and stipulations by which I prefer my children to adhere. My wife and I have standards of bed time routines, dietary selections, and level of freedom bestowed upon our children. We want our children to have fun, but we have certain rules we prefer them to live by.
That is, until they go and spend time with their grandparents.
These eager grandparents are ready to spoil these children rotten. They let them get away with stuff we never had a chance of doing unscathed when we were younger. Whenever we pick them up, it as if the story keeps getting changed to what our children ate, how long they slept, and what they did while we were gone.
Hopefully, you know me well enough to know that I really don’t have a problem with grandparents spoiling their grandchildren. I know, “It’s their job.”
We love that our children have a great time with their grandparents. We love the freedom they give our children. The problem comes in when that freedom turns into entitlement. We are sticklers when it comes to how much they eat with anyone else because we don’t want them to rethink what is normative for their meals when they come back home.
Freedom is good, until it becomes an opportunity for the flesh. In the above passage, Paul warns against allowing Christian freedom to stunt Christian service. It is easy in our free state to think that we don’t have to do anything. While we don’t have to do anything to earn God’s love, we want to serve others because of his love and it’s eternal impact on our lives.
As we enjoy the freedom we have in Christ, we are to live grateful lives bent on serving others the way we would want to be served. If you think you don’t have to serve, that you have “served your time” in a certain ministry, or that it’s someone’s else’s job to serve in your church, be careful that you have not turned your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh.