First group: Hanging out with people. Clicking through images of shabby-chic DIY home projects on Pinterest. Daydreaming about what clothes and accessories I need to shop for next.
Second group: Freedom. Love. Slavery.
I wouldn’t naturally associates these two groups with each other. The first group is made up of everyday, ordinary things that I, a 28-year-old mom, do. The second is terminology coming out of Galatians 5.
However, as I’ve been thinking through this sermon series on the Gospel, I’ve found that, for me, the first group (being with people, imagining projects for my home, and wanting new clothes) is the real-life arena of where Freedom, Love and Slavery come up.
Take being with people, for example. When I’m with my friends I’m finding that I’m not interacting with them based on the truths that: God made me, that He placed His image in me, and that even though I’m sinful, He treats me with the love and joy with which He’d treat His one and only Son. I’m actually enslaved to my need to perform and manipulate so that anyone and everyone will approve of me.
Or when it comes to Pinterest, I’m not really wanting to completely re-do my normal, run-of-the-mill house into something unique and vintage and beautiful because that’s simply the design and beauty of God on my life. I’m looking to my house, and how well I could decorate it, to save me. I’m crying out for my house to please, please finally prove that I’m good enough. That I’m pretty enough. That I’m worth something.
Or take daydreaming of completely revamping my wardrobe. I think that if I could just get the perfect style, I’d be saved. I’d be safe. I’d be invulnerable to the pressure on women to live up to so many standards.
The thing about these real-life examples is that, I feel like I’m free. Free to dress however I want, decorate however I want, interact however I want. But on Sunday, we heard that, “true freedom leads to love.” Galatians 5 says, “Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom.” And I can’t really see how my competing and striving and using and manipulating and performing and hiding could, when seen for what they really are, be labeled as love.
I don’t think the answer is to never interact with people, though. Or to not decorate my house. Or to never look at Pinterest. Or to stop buying clothes.
I think the answer is to do those things, but out of a Gospel-settledness. It’s possible for all of these activities to flow out of a place of rest that’s available through the freedom that Christ’s work on the cross brings. I don’t have to hide or control or strive or manipulate or compete. I’m made by God, designed by God, loved by God, rescued by God, being changed by God, approved by God, known by God, and all without me earning it. As I rest in that reality, real love is free to come out of my life. Love can come out of my life in the way I decorate. Love can come out of my life in the way I dress. Love can come out of my life in the way I hang out with people. Love can come out because I’m free, free from the yoke of slavery of securing love and approval for myself. Love can come out because of the Gospel.