Gather • Devotion 2

Love for Real
Josh Thayer

“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.” Galatians 5:13-15
You do not often think about it because it is all around us every day. It is something we inherited without even realizing it, especially being here in the United States. It is this little word with a massive meaning called “freedom.” Every morning I wake up, I have the freedom to choose what I want to do. I can drink a cup of coffee, I can have breakfast of my choosing, and I can even decide what clothes I am going to wear for the day. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Freedom is also something that God gives to us freely. By sending His Son to die on the cross for us, we have the freedom to choose salvation and freedom to love, and even freedom to sin. Every day is a gift from God and is an opportunity to make a choice. Paul here in Galatians 5:13, confirms that we were given this gift of freedom and he urges us to not use it for evil but to use it for loving others.

When we choose to use our freedom to sin, we become a slave to that sin, Satan, or our own evil nature. It has the potential to ruin your life and the lives of others around you. It is all from your own freedom to choose sin. I am sure we all know that feeling of guilt, shame, and regret. Those are all feelings associated with sin.

The other side of the coin is choosing to love and serve others. It is making a conscious effort to be like Jesus. To show others love, compassion, grace, and to demonstrate the ability to be selfless is a choice. That is love for real. That is what Jesus did while He was here on Earth. Day after day He demonstrated what real love looks like.

So now what? What are you going to do about it? You may have the whole day ahead of you to choose to make good decisions. Or maybe you are going to bed and have the freedom to wake in the morning and be a blessing to someone else. You have the freedom to choose. You have the freedom to step back into your own sinful nature. You have the freedom to also step away from that sin and run in the opposite direction. You have the freedom to love someone for real. God showed us how to love, now we just have to choose to do it!

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16






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