Boundless release from the things that limit
‘It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery’ Galatians 5:1 (NIV).
Writing this reflection is one of my first tasks as the incoming director of the International Social Justice Commission (ISJC). It is a joy to greet the social justice prayer warriors. Prayer is a vital and essential part of The Salvation Army’s social justice ministry around the world. Thank you for your contribution and for your ongoing prayer support for the work of ISJC.
We begin our prayer reflection with a verse by George Matheson:
Make me a captive, Lord,
And then I shall be free;
Force me to render up my sword,
And I shall conqueror be.
For many people freedom is the ultimate ambition – free to be whatever I want to be, dependent on no one, living life my way. Such freedom prioritises individual choice and independence.
Reflect: Can we be free and captive at the same time?
George Matheson – like billions of Christ-followers before and after him – enjoys a different freedom. A freedom found in surrender and captivity to Christ. The more we surrender to God, the more we experience boundless release from the things that limit. We find freedom, life, strength and fullness of life by being disciples of Jesus. We experience true freedom when we are captivated by Christ and his mission to save the world.
Many people do not understand this wonderful truth. They see Christianity as a burden – full of rules and regulations, restrictions and limitations. The way to enjoy life, they think, is to escape from religion because we alone are the masters of our fate. They say: think for yourself, follow your heart and depend on no one.
Reflect: How does individualism impact our prayers?
A boundless life of freedom is possible but not through individual effort. Paul, writing to the church at Galatia, rejected the slavery and burden of Old Testament legalism (Galatians 5:1-6) in favour of God’s grace. He sends a tough rebuke in verse 4: ‘You have fallen away from grace’ (NIV). They were depending on their actions rather than accepting Christ’s riches.
Reflect: What are those ‘things’ in our lives and those around us that limit ‘boundless release’?
Let us pray for all people who are burdened by ‘the things that limit’. Let us pray for people who work to dismantle the systems and structures that limit people from enjoying life in all its fullness (John 10:10).
We close with a verse based on a prayer by St Augustine:
Lord Jesus Christ,
Open our blind eyes,
Soften our hard hearts and
Bend our proud wills;
That seeing you we may love you,
Loving you we may serve you,
Who to serve is perfect freedom.
Lieut-Colonel Dean Pallant
Director, International Social Justice Commission
The Monthly Prayer Focus is provided by the International Social Justice Commission