In one of my pastoral leadership classes, the professor emphasized, week after week, a two-word concept: servant leadership. He made sure we understood that one of the primary roles of a pastor is servanthood. Today I want to dive deeper into this idea of freedom through serving by taking an expository look at Galatians 5:13.
Called to Freedom
When I try to understand scripture, I often go back and look at the original language for insight into its meaning. However, Paul didn’t use any special wording here: God called us to live in freedom. But what does he mean exactly?
Have you ever felt weighed down, oppressed, or even depressed? Has Christianity ever felt like a list of rules and regulations to you? I believe Paul is encouraging us to let go of those burdens — to release them to Christ.
This isn’t a call to anarchy. Rather, it’s a reminder that we’re no longer under the old covenant. Our Christian walk is about living in grace. We serve God because we want to, not because we’re trying to earn our way into heaven.
Remember, forgiveness is available to anyone who asks and doesn’t require a sacrifice as it did under the Law. Jesus paid the price for you and me to be free, and He’s calling us to embrace our freedom, to live in victory!
5 things we get by serving others
Jesus instructs us to lead through servant leadership. When we obey His commands there are things that we get out of it. Learn what those are in our free guide.Download our guide here
Serve in Love
Once we’ve accepted His calling, next Paul instructs us to serve in love. As before, I looked up the original language and found Paul’s words to be straightforward.
To better understand what it means to serve in love, I thought about the opposite: serving without love. I pictured someone grumbling about their responsibilities. They’re annoyed that they have to be there. They have an off-putting attitude and they carry a sense of “anywhere else but here.”
I’m sure we’ve all experienced this kind of service before. How do we respond? Does their attitude frustrate us, or do we respond in kindness?
While we may feel within our rights to tell them what we think, Paul tells us that we shouldn’t use our freedom to satisfy our sinful nature! How we respond is a reflection of the depth of our love. Next time you experience negative attitudes, serve that individual with kindness!
Freedom through Serving
Ultimately, Galatians 5:13 highlights the way our #ActionsMatter. Satan tries to make serving others feel like a burden, but it’s actually the exact opposite: we have freedom through serving. How?
Serving others is a celebration of what God has done in our lives. It’s sharing what He’s done for us with those who might not know Him. It helps those who feel inadequate realize their dignity when we humble ourselves to serve them.
We’re no longer in bondage: our freedom through salvation opens the doors for us to become servants of the Creator. Embrace your freedom: who can you serve today?