Freedom in Christ—a more enjoyable way to live

Written by Jami Lee Gainey
Published on September 28, 2021

We’ve been preparing for our longest RV trip yet, which means making far too many pink and orange highlighted lists and checking them a gazillion times a day. 

When it came time to order groceries (Instacart is my best friend), I requested 12 bananas.  My shopper even asked in the chat to clarify, “You want 12 bananas?”  “Yes, please.”  

An hour or so later when I was hauling bags of groceries into the RV, I noticed yellow bunches at the tops of most of the bags. Quite a lot of yellow. Suddenly, I realized what happened and just sat on the floor, overcome with laughter.  

Twelve bunches of bananas.  So many bananas!  

Almost immediately, I was shocked at my reaction. Laughter? 

Finding humor in a ridiculous situation?  This is not my normal reaction. And realizing the change in my demeanor brought on even more laughter.  The Lord is sanctifying me!  

Joy and freedom begin in Christ 

Recently I’ve become aware of a lack of joy in my life. Rather, a lack of living in the joy that I possess in Christ.  This often presents itself in what I’ve heard others call “the sin of self-seriousness.” 

I can become so serious about everything that I am living a legalistic lifestyle focused either on what I can accomplish or where I’m falling short. Consequently, this translates to how I treat others, especially those nearest me. 

Where is Christ and his completed work on the cross in all of that?  And what onlooker (whether my children or an outsider) would find this appealing at all? This is what it means to live as a Christian? Walking around with a sour face, overreacting and seemingly in bondage regarding every hint of wickedness around me?  

I cringe as I write that. 

Yet how often I live that way!  

Back into fellowship

God has been sweet to grab my attention regarding this—and the best part is that when he convicts, he doesn’t leave us to sit in our guilt, but he pulls us out of it and places us back in fellowship with him! 

So I don’t have to continue wallowing in my self-seriousness over my sin. I can confess, repent, and turn!  

And turning away from bondage to sin means living in the freedom of Christ! 

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1 ESV). 

Do I walk in freedom, or do I walk through my daily life submitting again to a yoke of slavery? Second Corinthians 5:17 reminds me, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 

I have his Spirit living in me! What a gift! I can walk in freedom. I can laugh and experience joy because of Jesus!  

Freedom to serve 

All this from too many bananas? No. Rather, all this enlightens how I understand too many bananas!  

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

So instead of getting angry, firing off a complaint to Instacart and demanding a refund, I laughed. I laughed, and, as prompted by some encouragement I’d recently heard on a podcast (What Have You, by Canon Press, episode 156), I asked a simple question—Who is this for?  

I ran into the house and shared the story with the kids, again a reflection of Christ working on my heart. We laughed together some more, and then I told them what we together were going to do.  

After a quick Google search for a sourdough banana bread recipe, I knew what to do. 

And I simply began asking God to show me where to deliver.  I began baking before I had an answer. And then I began with those around me. 

The boys ran a loaf across the street to an expecting momma whom I know is close to delivery. We gave some to our pest control guy who came to spray our home. We brought a loaf to some friends whom we visited for an afternoon playdate. We delivered two loaves to a family who currently have COVID. We dropped off some more slices for a friend about to work 4 night shifts in a row as a NICU nurse.  

A more enjoyable way to live

I share all of this for you to understand that this was not me

Left to my own flesh, I would still be complaining about this mistake made by my Instacart shopper. God is working on my heart, and he is helping me to see even grocery orders as under his sovereign control. 

Because of Jesus, I can experience joy and bless others in every situation he brings to my day.  This is the result of what Jesus can do with our simple obedience, with us choosing to see even too many bananas as ordained by him, as something to experience with joy, as seeds to be planted to bear fruit and blessings. 

Doesn’t that seem like a more enjoyable way to live? More laughter, more joy—all rooted in the hope we have in Christ. That is how God desires us to live, and what can help draw others to come to know Christ, too. 

Simply put—it’s an example of how God desires us to glorify him in everything.  Even in too many bananas.

Consider a few extra resources:

Authenticity Anyone?

Giving grace instead of advice

Giving ourselves grace

Live perfectly imperfect

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Jami Lee Gainey

Jami Lee is a Christ-follower, wife to a pastor, and momma to three littles (ages 8, 6 and 2). For “jobs”, she’s blessed to be a Charlotte-Mason inspired homeschool mama, serves on staff at iGo Global, and also has an online health and fitness coaching business. You can read more of her writing on her personal blog, where she seeks to encourage others in similar seasons of motherhood, ministry, homeschooling and cultivating sustainable stewardship in every area of life.

Read more about Jami Lee

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