Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The glorification of Freedom

It's the word we all love.
Let Freedom Ring and Reign Supreme.
We live in the land of the free.
We all want freedom from the things that hold us back...
Like Work. Or School. Or responsibilities.
Or Other People.
 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40
The Glorification of Freedom comes when we love freedom more than we love our neighbor.

It is when my freedom is self focused.
I no longer care about my neighbor first but my own liberty.
And our country is full of this humanistic thought.
Like somehow what we do shouldn't affect those around us.
"It's my life... I'll live it how I choose".
But freedom like this is never truly freedom. Because if I decide that I should get to dress and talk and eat and drink only unto myself I am not really free but a slave to my own flesh.
 To be free I must first be a slave to Jesus. 
What does he say?
Love others. Love others as you love yourself.
So that means If I cause you to stumble in your faith because of my freedom I have choosen to love me more than you.
If I cause you to sin because of choices I make. I have not given you freedom... I, instead have put you into bondage. Because I chose first my own liberty.

1 Corinthians 8:9-13

The Message (MSG)
8-9 But fortunately God doesn’t grade us on our diet. We’re neither commended when we clean our plate nor reprimanded when we just can’t stomach it. But God does care when you use your freedom carelessly in a way that leads a fellow believer still vulnerable to those old associations to be thrown off track.
10 For instance, say you flaunt your freedom by going to a banquet thrown in honor of idols, where the main course is meat sacrificed to idols. Isn’t there great danger if someone still struggling over this issue, someone who looks up to you as knowledgeable and mature, sees you go into that banquet? The danger is that he will become terribly confused—maybe even to the point of getting mixed up himself in what his conscience tells him is wrong.
11-13 Christ gave up his life for that person. Wouldn’t you at least be willing to give up going to dinner for him—because, as you say, it doesn’t really make any difference? But it does make a difference if you hurt your friend terribly, risking his eternal ruin! When you hurt your friend, you hurt Christ. A free meal here and there isn’t worth it at the cost of even one of these “weak ones.” So, never go to these idol-tainted meals if there’s any chance it will trip up one of your brothers or sisters.

I have been challenged in recent years with these verses in my own life.
This has to mean that my life is not my own. 
The freedom of the self expression we see here in America is not God's idea of freedom. 
But Freedom that comes from him always involves caring first of all about the glory of God. He has challenged me in my dress, in my language, my entertainment,  in my choice of beverage... Asking myself the question first... How do I bring glory to my maker in what I present to those around me. Am I pointing others to him through my freedom or am I making it more difficult for him to be seen because of my expression of freedom? Do I flaunt the very things that could cause someone around me who is struggling with sin in that area to trip and fall?
Asking myself these very important heart questions is sometimes difficult but if I am his follower I want to point people to the leader and not to my coolness factor.
It's really time for the church to grow  up spiritually in this area. 
Sometimes We can just smell a whole lot like the world. 
The glorification of Freedom... 
It comes at a high price.

Today Father, I ask that you would break me of self and focus first on you and then on the needs of my brother or sister. In this I find freedom to be all you called me to be. To die to self and live for you alone. 
Not to us... but to You Oh Lord be the glory!