Galatians 5:1, NIVUK
“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.”
What does freedom mean to you? To define something is to make its purpose, function or meaning clear. Freedom is all about flexibility and privilege.
When my daughter was a little girl she was quite fascinated with fire. She always wanted to touch it. The word we used to dissuade her from this dangerous attraction was “Hot!” That word however, had no meaning to her, as she had never experienced being burned.
In the garden, God’s command, “Do not touch”, was a source of protection within the boundaries of Adam and Eve’s freedom. Sadly, Eve was vulnerable to temptation, much like my daughter, because her understanding of death was limited. Therefore, the crafty serpent was able to bring confusion and doubt, engaging her attention and ultimately leading her to move beyond the boundaries of the freedom that she had in the garden.
The pleasing and desirable fruit, and all that it offered, took her eyes off God, His command and His boundary. The tempted became the tempter as Eve gave some to Adam, and they both experienced first-hand what God meant when He said, ‘but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die’ (Genesis 2:17).
One afternoon my daughter approached a lit candle with her finger out and a big smile on her face saying, “hot, hot!” To her, hot was something pretty and exciting and appealing. She reached out and put her little finger over the flame and discovered very quickly that hot, although pretty, was not appealing at all. The definition of “hot” became clear to her little mind and finger that day. My love for my daughter and concern for her safety was such that I put boundaries around the freedom that she had in our home.
Perhaps God has been speaking to you about something He does not want you to touch, and you are experiencing the doubt that sometimes follows a directive from the Lord. There is freedom within the freedom that Christ purchased for us, but there are also boundaries put in place to keep us safe. Galatians 5:1 goes on to say, ‘Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery’. Slavery is the opposite of freedom. The end of the story for Adam and Eve was separation from God, their source of life. Death, shame and fear entered the picture.
Can I encourage you today to learn from their mistake and turn your eyes and attention from anything God has asked you not to touch to Jesus’ finished work at the cross. You may not hear an answer to your question of why, but you may come to understand that only a good Father warns His children not to touch in order to keep them safe.
Prayer: Thank You, Father, for Your unconditional love that keeps me safe when I listen. I do want the freedom You bought for me on the cross, as opposed to the freedom the world offers. Help me to see what You are revealing to me today. I pray and ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.