You’ll never walk fully in your giftedness or ministry until you walk fully in freedom. It’s why the Apostle Paul reminded the church “For freedom Christ set you free; stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” Galatians 5:1. That slavery paints itself many ways. Mine was a false sense of identity. The canvas ranged from family to ministry to education.
My sense of worth came from the ability to do things with excellence as well as others’ opinion of me. Two realities collide in that train wreck:
- At some point, everyone fails.
- People change their minds.
When your identity hinges on perfection and affirmation, it’s only a matter of time before you slam into a wall. Those foundations are too shaky to build a house. After the dizziness wore off from my wall, I repented. For too long, I believed things about God that simply weren’t true. When the lies were replaced with truth, my yoke of slavery fell off. In freedom, it suddenly became possible to do 5 things:
- Take risks without fear. If your identity is tied to being a child of God rather than perfection in the area of __________ (leadership, parenting, marriage, etc.), you can take risks. Failing does not make you a failure.
- Celebrate others who are better at doing something. When you are free, people are not threats to your value as a leader. It’s possible to celebrate a person simply because they did something well. By celebrating them, you celebrate the God who gifted them.
- Embrace your giftedness. God made you on purpose, and He gifted you for His glory. You are wired the way you are for a reason. In other words, God made you good at stuff and wants you to do something about it. The reason I started to write grew out of this reality. But first I had to stop being afraid of what people thought.There’s a canyon between caring what other’s think, and being afraid of it. Fear keeps us in bondage and suffocates our giftedness. Freedom releases us to live the way we were designed.
- Empower leaders with pure motives. Knowing who you are in Christ gives you the ability to unleash people to fly their giftedness without worrying about how it reflects on you as a leader.
- Rest. Is it hard for you to take a vacation without stressing about work? Can you disconnect? If not, you’re far from alone. But your ability to rest is intertwined with what you actually believe about God. Only in the finished work of Christ will you ever find true rest. As a pastor, I believe that He will build His church and the gates of Hell (or turning my phone off for the day to be with my family) will not be able to stop it. Living out that fact was a game-changer.
Do those five aftereffects of freedom describe your life? Which one(s) do you struggle with the most? They may indicate a place in your life where you need freedom. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.