Galatians 5:1 “Stand fast in the liberty that Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage”.
After denying Christ, Peter full of remorse, condemnation and failure became disillusioned and went back to his previous life of fishing. Jesus, now the resurrected Lord, had to call him out of that again and remind him of that first call to follow Him. Jesus had promised to make Peter a “fisher of men”, not fish. John 21 relates the account of Peter’s restoration with Jesus on the shores of the sea of Tiberius. Jesus reminds Peter of his high calling to follow Him. Peter, broken by his failure, had been tempted to go back to what he knew. His disillusionment had caused him to lose sight of the vision – a fisher of men. After the day of Pentecost (Acts 2), Peter was anointed with the Holy Spirit and empowered to stand fast and run with the vision. The mighty Christ in Peter did great exploits to extend the kingdom of God after Pentecost.
True freedom is doing what God created me to do – liberty, not license. License is what I selfishly want to do to please me, not the Father.
How do I stand when conflict arises. Ephesians 6: 13-19 teaches us to put on the armour of God to withstand the wiles of the devil. It is my responsibility to make sure there are no chinks (footholds) in the armour for the wily devil to gain access in my life. The devil’s power over me was destroyed by Jesus at Calvary. However, the only power he now has is the power to deceive. If I am operating in unbelief, I negate what God has already purposed for my life. Unbelief will rob you of your birthright in Christ. God calls it evil because it takes us away from His path for us, away from Him – (Hebrews 3:12). If somewhere I am not walking in truth i.e. harbouring unbelief, unforgiveness, judgement and criticism of others etc. (all the works of the flesh), – this is the devil’s ground and children of the devil. These are the lies I have chosen to believe and the devil, as father of the lie, has visiting rights. (John 8:44) In our society a judge in a court of law, can grant a father visiting rights with his children because he is the father. So it is with the devil. When I manifest the deeds of the flesh, I give the devil a foothold in my life and chaos ensues. I need to repent of the lie I have embraced, and get back on track with the Lord. My stumbling blocks can then become the stepping stones of learning curves on my journey to my high calling to follow Jesus.
“Stand fast in the liberty that Christ has made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage”. The works of the flesh are a yoke of bondage because they keep me from progressing in my high calling. I need to learn, under the Holy Spirit’s guidance, to recognise and identify the yokes of bondage. My understanding and reasoning of matters can become a yoke of bondage in fear and unbelief. That is why Proverbs 3:5-6 instructs: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your paths”.
How do I stand fast then? When I am walking in truth and have done all that God requires of me, I stand…..firmly on what God has said…..His word will strengthen and enable me to stand. The storm may rage around me, but as long as I keep focused on the Lord, believing in what He has said, regardless of my present circumstances seeking to make God a liar, Christ in me, strengthens me to stand in Him…….to God be all the glory. I lose my identity in the glorious identity of Another, the resurrected Christ.
So, fellow travellers, let us stand fast and press on towards the goal Paul spoke of: Philippians 3:13-14 “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended, but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth to those things which are before us. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”. We have a calling upon our lives to be conformed to the image of God’s Son, (Ephesians 4: 13-15).