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Saturday, January 28, 2017

Privileged life, but principled, too

A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both. (Dwight D. Eisenhower) 

Have you seen the Facebook post of a nice log cabin in the woods, surrounded by stately, lush trees and a rather picturesque view of the surroundings, with the little caption that asks: "You have to stay in this cabin for one month, with no access to internet, cell phones, or TV. On the last day, you received $100,000. Would you do it?" Most of us would have to consider that one very, very carefully because we are kind of "connected" via our cells, internet, and media outlets! We almost freak out just thinking about being "disconnected"! I wonder if God asked us a similar question, like if we'd want to gain all the treasures of heaven and his kingdom, would we "disconnect" from where we have put our treasure on this earth, would we do it?

Corrupt people walk a thorny, treacherous road; whoever values life will avoid it. (Proverbs 22:5 NLT)

We have indeed become a society that values its privileges - almost taking it for granted they will always be there. When a power outage affects our town during monsoon storm or hurricane force gales, we find out just how "connected" we have become and how truly difficult it is for us to manage without those things we take for granted in our lives. We can almost hear the protests of the kiddos who have to find a way to occupy themselves without internet or TV.  We see the deer-in-the-headlights look of people who actually have to chat "live" with one another rather than send texts from one room of the house to the other! What we might not realize is just how much we "treasure" the things that keep us from valuing the things God has prepared for us that will live on in our lives way into eternity.

Privilege and principle are two entirely different things - one is assured because we live by the other. There is no "entitlement" for privilege - regardless of what some may think to the contrary! Privilege has a way of "corrupting" us - maybe not immediately, but in the course of time, we begin to take for granted what we have come to count on as "our right" or "ours". As a single parent, raising two children, I had to take many a moment of grief from my kiddos when they'd complain about buying "generic" jeans instead of the most popular name brand ones. The running shoes were likely bought at a big box store and not some sports store in the mall - despite their protests. The cars they got when they were old enough to endanger other lives on the road were second or third hand, but they ran. It was sometimes hard living by the principles I believe in - living debt free, not always having to keep up with the guy next door, and the belief that God didn't look so much at the outside as he did the inside. On the other hand, the love I always gave to my kiddos and received from them was much more valuable than enduring those protests from the kiddos, though! Despite their protests, they knew deep down that I loved them more than any words could describe.

Despite our protests, do we know deep down that we love God more than these things we call "privileges" that we have come to take for granted in our lives? Do we know deep down that he loves us enough to sometimes disturb our sense of "privilege" in order to keep us walking a "principled" life? I hope so! If not, it is time for us to disconnect a little from what we have come to count on more than making that connection with him. It is that connection with him that matters more than the privileges we enjoy - it is that connection that gives us the principles by which we make right choices, live in right relationship with others, and enjoy right-standing as citizens of his kingdom. Just sayin!