In my early years (ages 12-18) I attended church several times a week and I grew in Christ in some amazing ways. My life was getting on track spiritually and I was seeking to know the heart of God. However, I developed a poor understanding of Christianity by striving to live up to everyone else’s expectations of me instead of God’s Word and the standards that He has set for me. I was truly not free; in fact, I lived in bondage to the desires, whims, and preferences of everyone else—it was most miserable. This religion, I discovered later was not Christianity according to Christ, but a religion that was fabricated by controlling men and it was very oppressive (Even though those people meant well they were Biblically in error.).
God has given His children a precious freedom in Christ, which means He not only freed us from sin and shame but God has given His children the privilege of living unto Him. In this process of Christian growth it is truly fine that Christians look a little different although God’s righteousness is the standard for all of our actions. Being free, enjoying one’s liberty in Christ, and allowing others that same enjoyment is often hard to do, especially if one is insecure. This is especially hard if one was raised by legalistic parents or led by a legalistic pastor. This type of parenting and leadership is often manipulative and ultra-controlling. It leaves no room for the Holy Spirit to work in the hearts of those who know Christ and it is often a very judgmental religion.
Rather than using God’s Word as a tool to teach the Truth in a spirit of love it is often used as a hammer to beat people down into submission. For many, including myself, it often takes years to walk freely under the authority of God and His Word alone without a cloud of guilt hovering over us for failing to comply with a list of man-made rules. God’s Word and His Spirit are sufficient to lead all men and women into righteousness without a list of rules imposed by others.
If you have truly been set free from the bondage of sin and you are now living unto Jesus Christ, be careful casting judgment on those who remain under bondage from a list of rules that are imposed by others. The Apostle Paul identifies them as the weaker brothers in Romans 14:13-23. Let’s not use our freedom in Christ as a stumbling block for those who still struggle under a system that holds them hostage. Choose to live as a mature Christian and keep pointing others back to Christ. The joy that you have in the Lord will serve as the greatest proof that you have been set free from the bondage of sin.
“It was for freedom that Christ set us free….” (Gal. 5:1)
“For he who has died is freed from sin.” (Rom. 6:7)
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free….” (Rom. 8:2)
“If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36)