This post is part of a series on self-care from the perspective of self-care in Christ. How do I care for the person who God says I am?
because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
Laws & rules & ordinances & orders & commands & control are words that can make us feel restricted and confined. Sometimes we can obey the rules for fear of consequence. Or we feel hemmed up and trapped by regulations that we know we can’t keep perfectly. And thinking back over the last year or so, being told to stay home and wear a mask when out in public and stay 6 feet away from other people brought some polarizing reactions out of many people. We don’t enjoy being told what to do.
We, as humans, tend to rebel. Without the Spirit, we follow the rules just to keep the peace. Our motivation is to stay out of trouble, avoid punishment, or earn a reward. We aren’t obeying out of love or trust, just our of fear if we don’t. It is confining and controlling.
We’ve all heard the saying that “freedom isn’t free.” Just as a price was paid to create a “free” country, a price was paid to free us all from sin and death. As I write, the 4th of July is upon us. We are about to celebrate our independence as a country in the USA. Lives were lost to earn that independence and lives have been lost to keep it. We enjoy freedom because others have given their lives to keep it.
Jesus paid the ultimate price for us to be free from the cost of our sin. The law condemns us to death and the act of another man (Jesus) sets us all free from that law. Freedom from the law is true freedom. When we live in this true freedom through Christ, we follow his commands because we love Him. We are compelled by the Spirit to be as united with Christ as we can be. We know that Christ has no part in sin so we desire to stay as far from sin as possible. While we desire to be free of sin, we are not. We all still sin. But we are also forgive, which makes us free from sin.
See that difference? While we are not free of sin, we are free from sin. That is true freedom! While I am was still a sinner, Christ died for me (Romans 8:5).
Before I really became a follower, I followed rules because I was afraid of what could happen if I didn’t – natural consequences or punishment from authority or even judgment by God scared me. Even fear of the worst couldn’t keep me from living a life drenched in all types of sin. And because of my rampant sinning, I was constantly afraid – always trying to hide what I was doing. Always trying to balance my “good stuff” with my “bad stuff.” It was exhausting and impossible.
Once I fully understood the love of Christ and accepted Him in my life, I stopped doing lot of the things that could have caused punishment. I didn’t stop because I was any less of a human. I stopped because I felt free to rest in Christ, rather than seeking pleasure elsewhere. And now when I do sin (because we all keep doing that), I am not fearful, but I want to ask for forgiveness because I love Jesus so much.
So, what does self-care look like if you are free in Christ? We are free to be ourselves! We don’t have to put up a front (do people still say that?) to convince anyone else that we are worthy. We don’t have to conform to the world, in fact, we are told not to! We are free of all of the pressures of the world when we are in Christ. Caring for myself means understanding that my identity comes from Him and I am free to live in that identity – no matter who the world says I should be or what I should think.
I am growing out of the need to please others (PPA – People Pleasers Anonymous should be a thing). I don’t spend as much time trying to be who others expect me to be. I am free in the knowledge that God created me in a very specific way for very specific reasons. I am free to be that person and I no longer have to perform to earn approval or become someone else.
Where are you lacking in freedom? How can you live freely in Christ today?