From time to time, as I am reading a Scripture passage, I am moved to paraphrase the passage into my own words. While trying to stay true to the passage’s intended meaning, I sort of journal what I feel the Spirit is working in me at that time. I’m not trying to reinterpret the Scriptures or make up my own translation (relax). But it is a great way of connecting with what is going on in me as I’m reading. This actually happens all the time when someone says something like, “that passage means _______________ to me”.
Below is a passage that I paraphrased some time ago from Galatians 5. This is a beautiful chapter that compares a life lived from the flesh (sinful nature) with a life lived from the Spirit of Christ, where true freedom is found.
It is true that on the cross, Christ defeated everything that stands against Him, securing our freedom in Him. And then, Christ rose from the grave and became a life-giving seed, freely sharing His freedom with us. Plant yourself firmly in this freedom like a giant oak tree, and do not walk backwards into the heavy chains of religious law and tradition.
Brothers and sisters, we have been granted access to Christ so that through Him we can live in this freedom. But do not be deceived: this liberty is different from what the world views as freedom. This is not a freedom for yourself, as those in the world devour each other to gain; rather, this is a freedom from yourself, from everything that stands between you and the Lord’s life.
Let us live by the law that Christ Himself gave us, that we would love and care for each other in the same way we look out for our own lives. This is how our freedom grows. Freedom in Christ is not tearing each other to pieces to protect our own interests. This will completely destroy your fellowship with each other and the freedom found in the New Jerusalem, the Bride of Christ.
Because of the fall, we cling to selfishness and legalism. The new antidote to this problem is so much simpler than the Law – give everything to Christ and live by His indwelling life. Living for yourself destroys your freedom, but living by Christ forms the liberty of love into you.
We all know too well the fruits that comes from trying to get our own way all of the time, and there is no need to list them. When you are making room in your life for these things, there is no room for the kingdom of God to be built up inside of you.
But if you will give room for the seed of Christ’s life to grow inside of you, He will blossom into a sweet smelling flower. And this is His fragrance: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Legalism is helpless to produce a life that expresses this kind of beauty. Everything in us, our old nature, that stands against this was nailed to the cross of Christ and crucified with Him – it lives no more.
Since we have chosen to live in Christ’s life by the Holy Spirit, let us not only hold this as an idea in our minds or a sentiment in our hearts – let us make this our practical way of living with each other. May we not spend our time measuring how well other believers are walking in the Spirit, and may we not brag about ourselves because Christ is the One who does everything in us. Instead, let’s see every person as God’s masterpiece.
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