Thursday, March 29, 2018

Back in the day...

15 It is God’s will that your good lives should silence those who foolishly condemn the Gospel without knowing what it can do for them, having never experienced its power. 16 You are free from the law, but that doesn’t mean you are free to do wrong. Live as those who are free to do only God’s will at all times. (I Peter 2:15-16 TLB)

I know the moments seem to be magnified these days when someone chooses to do something so wrong it just cannot help but make headlines. The actions of a few make the lives of many a living nightmare. I was talking the other day with my BFF about how different it is to grow up today. We reminisced about the times when we grew up - running from sun up to sun down with the neighborhood kids - likely no emerging from whatever 'play' was at hand until we were called for supper. The mischief we managed to get into was indeed 'child's play' and we didn't live in fear of our lives. We went to school without having to carry bullet-proof backpacks, or experience the repeated 'active shooter' drills. Our 'drills' were those designed to get us all lined up neatly on the playground while the fire alarms blared signaling it was prep in case we had any type of 'explosion' in the chemistry lab from an experiment gone awry! We didn't dream of package bombs and we didn't kill ourselves because we were made fun of on social media. Our form of 'social media' was the playground talk at recess or over the lunchroom table when the 'cool kids' huddled together to talk about the hand-me-down dresses we 'uncool kids' might have had on! I wonder where we really started to 'go wrong' as a society. Some may postulate it was Rock-n-Roll, or those pot smoking hippies, or even the protests of the early sixties for human rights and women's lib. It matters not where the turning point was - it matters if we can reach a turning point today - back in the right direction!

Live as those free to do only God's will at all times. There are a couple of imperatives in this command. First, we are to live - not just exist in some semblance of what might be called 'life'. We are to really live as though all of the day matters - as though every action is important. Second, we are to live as those who are free - not to do whatever pleases us, but with consideration of what pleases God first and then what honors our fellow-man second. Freedom has been taken to extremes by some, while others still only dream there might be some freedom for them somewhere at some time. There are many kinds of 'bondage' (lack of freedom) beginning with the condition or state of our souls and going on from there. Nothing matters as much as the condition of our soul - for that soul which has never experienced the grace and forgiveness of their Creator has not really experienced any great sense of freedom at all! Lastly, freedom is an "all the time" kind of thing - it isn't now and again, but consistently lived out in our daily lives. Freedom comes because we live according to the will of God 'at all times' - not just when the urge hits us, or in 'pockets of society'. Live at those free to do - not free to be - but free to do. There is a purpose to our freedom - it is to do the will of God at all times. Some equate freedom with the will to do as they please whenever they please, but the will of God is to override our will - especially when that freedom of will leads us down a path other than the one he would have us choose.

We live free, not as powerless creatures, but as those who have experienced the ultimate power - that of our Creator's hand and heart. Power doesn't come in our actions, but in the actions of Christ coming through us, touching the lives of those around us. Those hungering for power need to realize any power other than the power of Christ pales in comparison - it will be lack-luster when held up to the light and majesty of his power! Power doesn't come when we take advantage of others - it comes when we put them first. It doesn't manifest itself in the actions of 'advantage', but in the actions of love. If we seek for an advantage in life, we will likely find any advantage we obtain is soon lost because others are seeking for the place of advantage equally as hard as we are! There is no greater place of 'advantage' than in the arms of Christ - for his 'advantage' comes in the form of grace, compassion, love, and true freedom. Just sayin!