“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” Galatians 5:11
When I talk with girls at camp about their faith and whether or not they want to follow Jesus, the most common reason why they say no is that they believe Christianity is just a bunch of rules that will stifle their freedom and ruin all the potential fun they can have in these years. In their minds (and many other adults for that matter) Christianity means boring weekends, uncool social circles and (God forbid) the possibility of dateless years due to a lack of Christian boys in their communities. The idea of having to turn over their freedom and submit to anything or anyone besides themselves seems archaic and even foolish (and certainly not fun).
One of my colleagues at our counseling center told me once about a study of two sets of young children in England who were put in separate play yards. One was fenced in with proper boundaries and the other had no fences, no limits at all for where the children could roam and play. After a while the children who were in the fenced in area continued to play freely and creatively without reservation or care, while the other group of children (without boundaries) eventually ended up in a small huddle together, not playing but rather clinging to one another for comfort and a sense of security.
The results of the study led the psychological researchers to conclude that limits and boundaries for children are not just healthy but necessary to their emotional, mental and psychological development. In order to flourish and grow fully to be the children they were created to be, they needed to know they are safe within certain boundaries that provide the freedom to risk and grow.
This principle is the foundation of what it means to be forgiven and set free by the grace of the gospel. In Galatians, Paul is admonishing the Christians in that church who have moved away from grace and gone back to making salvation about a bunch of rules. The point of why Jesus had to come at all is because we COULDN’T keep the rules!
So He came and kept them FOR us, so we could be forgiven and set free from all the junk we make being a Christian about. When you are changed by grace you actually are set free from the need to build your worth around being smart, artistic, pretty, athletic, moral, different or popular (and so on)…whatever makes you feel cool, fun and accepted. And, you are free to be fully who YOU were meant to be. I know it is true because it happened to me.
So now when girls at camp tell me they are afraid to give their lives to Christ because it is too limiting, I try to point out that the limits they feel don’t come from Jesus, rather from the enslavement they have to their idols (acceptance, approval, image, control etc.). But Jesus can set them free. Though fully innocent and without sin, He was arrested, jailed, tried, judged, tortured and killed for each of us so that we could be forgiven and set free. Free to be fully ourselves, no longer enslaved to our sin. Now that is anything but boring!
Prayer: Lord, help me today, by grace, to believe that following you, the way, the truth and the life really does set me free. Align my mind and my heart with what will REALLY make me fully ME and whole. In Jesus name. Amen.