Freedom in commitment
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
The longing for freedom quickly turns into self-absorption. Have you ever seen this? Freedom always proves relationally destructive when it becomes selfish. And selfish freedom soon ceases to be freedom.
There feels like there’s a tension between freedom and commitment. When we make commitments to others, it feels like we’ve given up some of our freedom. (Economists call this “opportunity costs”) This is true whether we’re talking about marriage or business partnerships or athletics. Joining one team / company / family feels like it’s limiting your options.
We human beings often use our freedom to carve out our own independent spaces. We use freedom to fend off commitment rather than to serve and bless. But there’s more to freedom than “freedom from” commitment.
As we follow Jesus, we discover “freedom to” – freedom to love and serve and bless and be yourself – and “freedom in” – freedom in Christ and in our loving community. Freedom has both a missional purpose and a relational context. Isolation is not freedom. Selfishness is not freedom. Ultimate freedom is always found in commitment.
Take stock of your committed relationships. Where are you experiencing temptation to carve out your own isolated space? Where are you using your freedom to love, bless and serve?