"The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?
You, my brothers and sisters were called to be free...serve one another in love."
Galatians 5:6-7, 13
The first part of this verse that I underlined was the middle line: "You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?" And the truth that Paul is talking about is so simple: Christ came for our freedom.
What caught my attention was not the truth that I have heard my entire life: you are free, so live free. No, what caught my attention was the follow up to that: you are free and you know it, but someone or something is inhibiting you from fully experiencing that.
Who stopped you from walking in this truth? And as a result, stopped you from obeying the single command: "Love your neighbour as yourself"?
It would seem that freedom and love are inextricably linked. Why had I never made that connection before? Of course to love requires a level of freedom. To love fully requires that all chains and bondages are released. To love with everything in us demands that everything in us is available to love in the first place.
Freedom and love cannot be separated. Nor can intimacy and love, because love also requires a level of intimacy. All are fueled by faith - faith expressing itself through love.
Faith that words spoken hold meaning. Faith that the people you were late at night will be the same people when you wake up in the morning. Faith that everyone is walking in full freedom to be as intimate and love as deeply as the next person.
That's how it was designed wasn't it? And yet, we are so prone to messing it up. Without ever intending to, we hurt the people we are trying so desperately to love well, because we haven't figured out the first step.
We haven't fully grasped our freedom. And without that, we don't know how to be intimate. We don't know how to love as deeply as we were designed to.
Someone cut in and kept us from obeying the truth.
Who sparked a fear in you that overpowered your freedom?
Who cracked your belief in love?
Who made you ashamed of intimacy?
God brings everything full circle. We start with something - freedom, or love, or intimacy, or faith - and we learn that the rest will surely follow. We cannot learn one without the other. We cannot live one without the other. And we cannot label one as more important than the other.
So maybe the best way to live it is to do just that - live it. Imperfectly and chaotically and hesitantly until it becomes so natural and so comfortable that we forget we were ever scared in the first place. We will forget the lies that we have believed for so long that fear will always be there, or that love will always be broken, or that intimacy is something to run away from. We will forget the people who cut in and kept us from walking fully in the truth that we are free, and obeying the single command to love.
Christ came for our freedom. And with that, He came so that we might know real love and have the capacity to live it.