Freedom is a noun.

Freedom means being exempt from external control.

Christ preached freedom, lived freedom, and offered freedom to all.

We have the opportunity to live into the freedom of Jesus Christ and also the responsibility to work toward ensuring others may live into their God-given freedom. Let the Spirit move in, around, and through you today, that you might live freely in Christ our Lord.

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You were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only don’t let this freedom be an opportunity to indulge your selfish impulses, but serve each other through love. All the Law has been fulfilled in a single statement: Love your neighbor as yourself. But if you bite and devour each other, be careful that you don’t get eaten up by each other!

Galatians 5:13-15

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I grew up hearing my parents and grandparents say, “To whom much is given, much is expected.” They frequently reminded me that blessings are meant to be shared, not kept for myself. Such is true for our God-given freedom. Paul tells the Galatians in verse 13 that freedom means love. “You have been called to freedom… serve each other in love.”

Loving your neighbor as yourself seems like a simple thing to do, but we first must learn to love ourselves. What does that mean? It means recognizing our sacred inner beauty given by our Creator and recognizing that others possess it, too. It means choosing not to argue or squabble because you respect your opinions and those of others. It means accepting the gifts of grace, love, and freedom that Christ bestowed upon you, and then helping others accept them, too.

Our call to freedom to love yourself and others is a call to receive from Christ first and offer to our neighbors with the very same receptive heart.

Katie Barrett Todd

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Loving God, you give to me so freely, and I want to either reject it or keep it all to myself, but doing so makes me no longer free. Grant me the capacity to love myself with your gracious love so that I may then be free to work toward the freedom of my neighbor. I struggle with this call, but I trust you’ll guide me. Amen.

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South African freedom hero Nelson Mandela said: “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

Freedom requires us to live so that all may be free. Christ’s freedom is not for one person, but for every person.

Go today into the world and fight for the freedom of another.

Go today to let the world taste the unending love of Christ through loving your neighbor.

And go today letting the Spirit change your motivations. Live free, and fight for freedom.

Katie Barrett Todd

Rev. Katie Barrett Todd is Associate University Minister at Nebraska Wesleyan University and an ordained Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church (USA). She holds a M.Div and MACE from Union Presbyterian Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina. Katie has served churches and campus ministries in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Kentucky. She currently resides in Lincoln, Nebraska with her husband, a youth and young adult pastor in a local congregation, and her two toddler children.

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