My good friend, Billy V. has a great post on his blog about freedom, with this being Ash Wednesday and all. It got me thinking, which is usually dangerous.
As Americans, we have a strong sense of independence and freedom. Our country, compared to others, is not very far removed from the bonds of slavery and oppression. I think this, coupled with some other factors like cash flow, technology, etc. can lend itself to creating a world view that sees no limits to what one can do; i.e. The American Dream. I know I've spent plenty of time chasing the American Dream. My big question is: has the church in USAmerica been chasing the American Dream? More money, bigger "houses," more influence, you get the idea. I'm not knocking the wealthy. I've put a great deal of effort into this very thing (and those of you who know me would never use the word "wealthy" to describe me!). And, if I work hard to get everything I dream of having, shouldn't I be looking out for number 1? It's my stuff, it's my life, it's my dreams. After all, it's my right to have these things. I am free to chase whatever dreams and stuff I want. John said that "If the son has set you free, then you are free indeed!" But did he mean that we are free to have the American Dream? Paul penned, "Everything is permissible, but not everything is profitable." The truth is that we have been freed so that we can become bond servants of The Most High. I love Paul's reminder to the Corinthian Church: "For he who was a slave when he was called by the Lord is the Lord's freedman; similarly, he who was a free man when he was called is Christ's slave." We react badly to the idea of being a slave, but that's what we've been called to. We are no longer slaves to sin, our flesh, or the world. However, we are called to be slaves to Christ. And that means sacrificing things that may very well be permissible to you in Christ, but would not be benficial to the Kingdom, or to the body. What does this look like for you? What do you cling as you chant, "It's not a sin."? With today marking the beginning of the Lenten season, I would challenge you to begin thinking like a slave to Christ, and not necessarily as an American citizen. What do you hold on to? What keeps you from true freedom? What would the Master ask of you that you might balk at because of the sacrifice involved? Whatever it may be, it's time to give it up.
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