Quick Insight: Freedom Means the Opportunity to Use Your Strengths

Insights are short, biblical truths to equip you to lead from your strengths.

For a nation’s citizens, freedom means the opportunity to act, think, and speak as you choose.

For Christ-followers, freedom means even more.

Freedom: man at sunset with hands up“You were called to freedom, brothers,” Paul wrote to the Galatians. “Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13, ESV).

That message was written during Bible times to the citizens of Galatia, a Roman province.

The Galatians were classic Optimistics, characterized by their quickness to trust information. They received the Apostle Paul with enthusiasm (Acts 16:6). New churches sprang up quickly among them. They welcomed Paul for a second visit and grew more deeply in the faith (Acts 18:23).

And while the Galatians were quick to trust Paul, later on they were also quick to trust the visiting Judaizers, who espoused doctrine that mingled grace and works contrary to salvation through faith alone.

License, Legalism – or Liberty?

The Galatians’ strength was in trusting information. But without balance, that trust led to confusion. Some of them focused on the Judaizers’ emphasis on grace, taking it as license to do as they pleased. Other Galatians focused on the Judaizers’ emphasis on works by following the law to the letter, believing it made them righteous.

It took factual, analytical Paul – a Realistic who validated information before acting on it – to give balance. He used his strengths as he wrote to the Galatians, challenging them to a better way: liberty.

The Freedom to Seek the Best for Others

“You were called to freedom, brothers,” Paul wrote to the Galatians. “Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13, ESV).

The Greek word “opportunity” in Galatians 5:13 originally meant “a starting point” or “a base of operations.”

With that in mind, Paul’s words might read like this:

“You were called to freedom, brothers. Do not let your freedom become a starting point for selfishness (license) or self-righteousness (legalism). But let your freedom become a starting point to seek the best for one another.”

God has gifted you with a starting point: your strengths. What happens in your home, your church, your workplace, and your nation when you act on that freedom to use those strengths to seek the best for another?

You are able use your strengths for another’s good. You feel a new freedom to value in one another’s strengths. You blend strengths together for a stronger whole.

It’s a freedom embraced not just by Paul in his teaching to the Galatians, but also by the early church leaders just a few months later when they met at the Council of Jerusalem in 49 AD.

As a Christ-follower, you too are called to that kind of freedom.

It’s an opportunity – a starting point – to live out your strengths, value the strengths of others – and blend for a stronger family, church, workplace and nation.

Take it.

For More Insight

  • What are some ways you can exercise your freedom to use your strengths?
  • Think of a situation in which you can take the opportunity to value the strength of someone at home, at church, or at work.
  • “There is freedom when you blend your strengths with others.” Describe a time when you have seen that happen.

More Insight for Using Your Strengths

Solving Problems Then and Now: Nehemiah Gets It Done

Processing Information Then and Now: Moses Gets the Facts

Managing Change Then and Now: Abigail’s Steady Diplomacy

Facing Risk Then and Now: Joshua Goes Off the Grid