Leveraging your freedom for others leads to joy


Have you ever noticed yourself getting defensive when someone came along and said something like this: “Do you realize where this is headed?”

You don’t want to listen. Not only do you not want to listen, but you get defensive. It’s almost like you can’t listen.

Confirmation bias has kicked in. You see what you want to see. You hear what you want to hear. You gather information that confirms what you want to do. Any information that is contrary to what you want you reject. You don’t want to hear it. Whenever we are feeling anything like this, it is wise to be careful.

If you are currently in an ongoing conversation with someone and you believe that person has your best interest at heart, but whenever a specific topic comes up, you feel yourself becoming defensive, you need to pay attention to that.

It may be that they see something that you either can’t see or won’t see yourself. Perhaps they are more objective about what is going on because they are not emotionally attached, which can make a huge difference in how we see things.

Whenever you’re emotionally connected, it is easy to lose sight of reason and objectivity. If you are emotionally connected, you’ll be tempted to opt for appealing over satisfying, and appealing isn’t always satisfying in the end.

You might be surprised to know that the apostle Paul talked about this 2000 years ago in the book of Galatians: “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.” (Galatians 5:13)

Paul is talking about our appetites. It is about those things that elicit desire inside of us. This is what gets so many people in trouble.

The truth is we shouldn’t say yes to every impulse. If you say yes to every impulse, you will lose your freedom. If you say yes to every temptation, you don’t gain freedom, you lose it. Not only will you hurt yourself, but you might hurt others in the process.

Christianity is about how you treat other people. You are free, the apostle Paul says, but don’t let your freedom harm you, and don’t allow your freedom to harm anyone else.

Leveraging your freedom for yourself will lead to a very dissatisfying life. But leveraging your freedom for others will lead to joy and satisfaction you can find no other way.

Steve Greene is the lead pastor of The Point in Seymour. Read his blog at pastorgreene.wordpress.com or email him at [email protected]. Send comments to [email protected].

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