My husband, like many men, is not a big fan of shopping. You would never find him at the mall, or wandering into boutique stores in touristy locations. The appeal of walking and talking and browsing the aisles looking at pretty things is completely lost on him.
Except if it’s Costco.
He loves walking down every aisle of Costco, and would go there for fun in a heartbeat. Eating at their food court is one of his favorite cheap dates! (Mine too!) The reason why he likes shopping at Costco so much is because of their limited stock – they’ve already done the legwork for you by only selling the products that are popular enough to be sold in bulk. So instead of 53 kinds of cereal in the breakfast aisle, there are only 6 choices. You’ll only find golf clubs and laptops of the best quality for the price. You can only buy the best-tasting dip for chips. There’s something about the limited choices available there that feels so freeing.
We want it but we don’t
Freedom is like that, isn’t it? Having all the freedom in the world can feel liberating or it can feel suffocating. We can either feel paralyzed with indecision or confident knowing we are making good use of our freedom.
The Bible tells us that we have freedom as followers of Christ. Consider 2 Corinthians 3:17: “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” And Paul admonishes the Jews of Galatia, who were reverting back to their legalistic ways by trying to follow strict legal codes: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Gal. 5:1)
Sometimes it’s easier and less intimidating to follow a rule book than to embrace the freedom we have in Christ. We want to know we are doing life “right,” that we are on the right path. We treat the Bible like it’s just a manual (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth, anyone?) instead of a way we can know God. We search its pages for principles for parenting, for clues about who we should marry, for how to run a successful business. We want to know God’s will for our lives, which college we should go to, which career to pursue. We wish that God was more explicit with how we should live our lives, but instead, all we get is a simple command to love God and to love others. Meanwhile, we wonder if we can replicate Gideon’s method of putting out a fleece.
Freedom to live out your calling
God gave us freedom from our sin in Christ, and he has certainly made known to us his moral will. But how you live out his calling to love him and love others is largely up to you. And this reality can be comforting or it can cause us to constantly second-guess ourselves.
God gave us freedom from our sin in Christ, and he has certainly made known to us his moral will. But how you live out his calling to love him and love others is largely up to you.Tweet
If you get my newsletter, you’ll know that I went back to school this year to get my Master’s degree. When I was considering going back to work full time, I knew I wanted to further my education. But I had to make an important decision first. Did I want to continue on toward the path of career ministry? Or did I want to return to my first love in the area of education? When I was younger, this decision would have paralyzed me. What, specifically, did God want me to do? What was the “right” choice? This time around, although I did spend time in prayer, I was much more confident in my decision. We can live out our calling to love God and love others in any arena and there is no hierarchy which puts full time church ministry above all others.
This freedom I felt led me to choose education. But I know deep in my bones that I could have applied for a job at the nearest Taco Bell and I still would be faithful to God’s call on my life as long as my focus was on loving God and loving others. Taco Bell employee, school teacher, pastor – the job title we hold has no bearing on how well we can love God and love others.
And even if, by some tragedy, we lost our ability to be a part of the workforce in any way, God’s love for us would not grow any dimmer.
So, go. Decide! Move forward in the confidence and freedom we have in Christ.
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