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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But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against things like this. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the self with its passions and its desires.

If we live by the Spirit, let’s follow the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-25

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I really don’t like cleaning. I would much prefer to have someone else clean up for me, but the reality is that it’s my responsibility to clean up after myself. I’m good at laundry and dishes, but sometimes I let other things slide until I just can’t stand it anymore. Then I move into “cleaning mode.” My mind takes over my hands, and I just can’t stop cleaning until everything is neat and tidy. It’s almost a compulsion.

I think this can be compared to the fruits of the Spirit about which Paul speaks. We don’t will ourselves to possess these fruits; instead when we freely accept God’s Spirit as the guide of our lives, they… happen. They take over. Our lives change when we live into the freedom of God. We may not have to work at being kind; it just comes effortlessly. The Spirit brings new motivations to our heart, and we bear joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control as its result. We don’t even have to strain, because it’s natural. That’s real freedom.

Katie Barrett Todd

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Holy Spirit, come into my heart and change my motivations. I want to bear your fruit effortlessly, but I’m also scared to give up control. Be patient with me as I learn to let you guide me anew. 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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