Porque vosotros, hermanos, a libertad fuisteis llamados; solamente que no uséis la libertad como ocasión para la carne, sino servíos por amor los unos a los otros. (RVR 1960)
Liberty in the military is normally associated with authorized leave of absence from duty. A 3 day pass, shore leave or part of your 30 days of annual leave. What Paul in speaking about is similar but different. Confused okay, let me try and make sense of it for you.
Paul in Galatians 5:1-15, is focused on what one should be doing with their new found freedom in Christ. The same goes for all those going on authorized leave from the military, prior to departure we are reminded of the expectation for our behaviors and consequences for non-compliance.
For, brethren, Paul says listen up my brothers and sisters in this fight for Christ. The same applies today to our service members and ex-military organizations listen up you are still in the fight.
ye have been called unto liberty; You have been called, not everyone will be called or heed the call, but you stepped up. Today with an all volunteer military (since 1973) this is certainly true. These patriots heeded the call to serve freedom. Less we forget those from the era WWII, Korea, Vietnam before them who didn’t have a choice whose number was called and in many cases and went and served.
only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, Biblically, Paul says just because you are free from sins because of Christ’s sacrifice at Calvary you have no excuse to continue sinning as your old self. The military comes under the same constraints, prior to enlisting men and women fell under the jurisdiction of local, state and federal laws. Their enlistment did not free them from the penalty of punishment should they misuse their “liberty.” The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) will aggressively be applied if they resort to shall we say excessive worldly behaviors.
but by love serve one another. Paul is encouraging the reader to be Christ like, to serve others with an attitude of love whenever possible. In the military a unit cannot survive if the members do not seek the best for one another. They may not “love” one another but they must look out for one another or the unit is doomed.
Another important aspect of this is the humility in which one must serve. Paul makes it clear it is not about him, (or any individual) it is always about Christ and Christ Alone. In the military I found more Type-A personalities congregated than anywhere else on the planet. We are wired from Boot Camp to be that way then 4, 6, 8 or 20 years later when we exit the military told turn it off be humble and all will be well; not an easy task.¹
The bible makes it clear that the only true way to be free for eternity is to be in Christ. It also makes it clear that the freedom we enjoy being in Christ is not a licence to live a life serving worldly desires. In fact anyone truly in Christ, will desire to humbly and faithfully serve others with love.
Observation: What did I read? What struck you as most meaningful?
Interpretation: What does it mean? Overall and the most meaningful? Did it change your view on LIBERTY?
Application: How does it apply to me?
Implementation: What do I do? How can I start living it out today?
¹ If you are having and issues with “turning it off”, PTSD, and just plain coping P L E A S E check out the resources here