“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.”
Freedom. Our culture has taken this word to a whole different level, and given it a new meaning. Walk one day in the streets of America and you will see people racing past you, heads down, bumping into you without apologizing. You will see rallies of people picketing for their beliefs and trash talking anyone who disagrees. Everyone has a mission, a one worded purpose: Me. No one else matters as much as me. No one’s opinion is as important as mine. No one knows what I am going through. We live in a self oriented culture, and no matter how hard you try to preserve your humility, the poison of selfishness always creeps in. Even believers, even christian schools, and yes, even the church are corrupted by self. We are sick people, completely corrupt, and blind to anyone else but ourselves. If I am being honest, I have never thought of myself as a selfish person, but oh, was I wrong. It took me leaving America to a foreign country, moving in with 21 complete strangers, to finally realize that I constantly think about myself. “I want to eat dinner, so everyone else needs to hurry up and get in line.” “I need to get ready, so I am going to use the mirror first.” “I don’t like to pray out loud, so I will let somebody else do it.” I need to get over myself. We need to get over ourselves. Yes, I matter. Yes, I am important. But who am I to think of myself as better than anyone else? This mentality can only come when we are uprooted from God’s love; when we forget what He did for us, how he died for us, and how he loved us, when we wanted nothing to do with him at all. Matthew 22:37-39 says, “You shall love the Lord with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” This verse has lost it’s meaning for so many believers, even myself, but I was looking at it wrong. I see a list of rules, instead of a list of opportunities. I have the opportunity to lean into the love of Christ, drink deep from his mercies, and shine his love, which has the power to save a life. How different life would look like if my one worded purpose was others. How different life would look like if the entire body of believers rejected self, and embraced people. The world would change, I am sure of it. Freedom would take on a new meaning, the meaning God had always intended: love. Freedom for believers is rooted in love, and it starts when we fall in love with Jesus, and remember the great love that he has lavished upon us. Jeremiah 17:9-10 says, ”The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick, who can understand it? I, the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to the fruit of his deeds.” Jesus, search my heart and rid me of myself. Fill me up with you, to the point of overflowing. May I abide in your love, and may your love radiate in my life, that I might serve all those around me.
Application: This weekend I will follow the will of the Lord and call up one of my friends to pray over them. I want to remind them of how much I love them, but even more so, how much the Lord cares for them.