Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Law, Liberty & Self-Discipline

In Paul’s day one ongoing battle within the churches was law over liberty (Galatians 5:13-18). Five key words that unlock Galatians 5:13-18.

  1. Liberty – v. 13
  2. Love – vv. 13-14
  3. Law – vv. 14, 18
  4. Lust – vv. 16-17
  5. Led – v. 18


Law is an attempt to externally control the flesh.

What is the strength of the law?

  • It identifies right and wrong.
  • It punishes lawbreakers.

What is the weakness of the law?

  • It cannot change the heart.
  • It can only partially control the flesh.
  • It cannot make a person spiritual.


The world (and many raised in “church-world”) thinks that Christianity is synonymous with slavery. Not true! The call of the Gospel is a call to freedom! Salvation is a summons to liberty. The following Scriptures tell us that believers have liberty in Christ.

What are the dangers of liberty?

  1. Liberty can be turned into license.
  2. Liberty can bring out your worst.
  3. Liberty can be lost.
  • Galatians 5:13b, “… only [use] not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”
  • 1 Peter 2:16, “As free, and not using [your] liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.”
  • 1 Corinthians 8:9, “But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.”


Liberty must be tempered with self-discipline. Liberty is guided by your love, and directed under the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

Liberty reveals how strong or how weak are your:

  • Convictions
  • Conscience
  • Commitment

The spiritual disciplines place us in the path of the Holy Spirit and deepen our love for God. Discipline is the price of freedom, and freedom is the reward of discipline.

Donald Whitney (this series of posts is derived from his book Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian Life) writes:

“Discipline without direction is drudgery. But the Spiritual disciplines are never drudgery as long as we practice them with the goal of Godliness in mind. If your picture of a disciplined Christian is one of a grim, tight-lipped, joyless, half-robot, then you’ve missed the point. Jesus was the most disciplined Man who ever lived and yet the most joyful and passionately alive. He is our Example of discipline. Let us follow Him to joy through the spiritual disciplines.”

Identify your tendency…

  1. Do you tend toward legalism?
  2. Do you tend toward license?

Recognize that self-discipline will provide you with the proper balance. Ask God to help you achieve that balance.

Godliness is the goal of spiritual discipline. Remember this, and the disciplines will become a delight instead of a drudgery!

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