You Might Think You Live In Freedom…
When we sing praises about being set free from the bondage of sin, we usually think of physical sins such as lying, stealing, drunkenness and so forth. But how many of us think of selfish motives as sin? To follow-up from Monday’s post, seeking fame is purely a selfish desire and we unknowingly live with this bondage every day, not realizing the separation we cause between ourselves and God.
Galatians 5:1 “It is the freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.”
Paul was talking to the Jews who continued to teach the Gentiles that in order to be saved they must continue with keeping the Jewish law. But Paul taught that we have been set free from the law by the death of Jesus Christ. If I may, I’d like to compare this to our modern world. I believe some Christians are a slave to fame. To be a slave means someone or something has control over your life.
We flock to this conference and that conference seeking results to grow our ministry. We read “how to” gimmicks. We have every social media site out there promoting our ministry.
Now, is there anything wrong with following a certain protocol to get results? No.
But I believe the issue comes when we are a slave to it. I believe the issue comes when it’s not about God. Through your prayer and fellowship with God, did He lead you to that conference? Did He lead you to study that particular guideline for your ministry? The answer is usually no. Instead of relying on the Holy Spirit to guide us through our ministry, we simply rely on artificial systems to grow God’s kingdom. And it does not matter if it is a Christian seminar. If God did not lead you there, you have essentially put your trust and faith in a mere human being to grow your ministry.
Galatians 5:16 “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”
I shared with you in Monday’s post, how we moved across the country so my husband could coach football, only to return home four -weeks after we arrived. That was a humbly experience to say the least. My husband continued to seek God with his passion to coach. But he sought God more than his dream. He stayed in constant fellowship with God. He no longer sought coaching like we pursue “making it.” He pursued God, and this time he left the results up to Him. Exactly one year after our move, God led my husband to a coaching position through a series of events that could only be explained as God. I share that story in my post; Take A Walk On The Wild Side.
What Are Some Ways To Know When We Are Not Truly Focused on God?
In Peter Scazerro’s book, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, he underlines the issues many of us Christians face daily. In our race for fame – doing all things Christians, we are spiritually immature, because we’ve never taken the time to become emotionally mature. Scazerro says on page 11, “I discovered the radical truth that changed my life, my marriage, my ministry and eventually the church we were privileged to serve. It was simple truth, but somehow I missed it – and, strangely, apparently so had the vast majority of evangelical movements I’d been part of; emotional health and spiritual maturity are inseparable.
Scazerro’s goes on to share on page 12; most people emerge out of their family origin lacking maturity. Yet, he believed, like so many of us, that the power of Christ would simply break the curse, even as we neglect to realize how our home life still shapes us in many ways.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, old things pass away and all things become new. But like Scazerro, we need to go back to understand what those old things are so they can begin to pass away. Scazerro says he left his home life as a young adult, emotionally underdeveloped and starved for affection and attention. Does that not sound like most of us who are trying to make it big?
Scazerro continues on page 100; what you believed growing up – you most likely believe as a faithful Christian adult. (paraphrase) A lot of people come from a family where good performance meant they were loved and valued. Many people come from a family that pushed competition in sports, school, work, and church because it meant self-worth. As a result, many people (Christian people as well) struggle with the “achievement addiction.” There’s no end. Nothing is ever good enough. We consistently feel inferior.
Exodus 14:30 “That day the Lord saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians”.
God saves many of us today through His Son Jesus Christ. We leave our rebellious lives, repent of our sins, and faithfully serve God. But like the Israelites, it is a battle to trust God. It is a battle to leave the old thinking behind. The Israelites grumbled and complained when they no longer had good meat to eat. We’re no different. We have been saved by the grace of God, but are still trapped in our old way of thinking and living. Whatever methods we were taught as children, we’ve brought them into our Christian lives. You may not realize it, but there’s a family pattern in your life that you’re emulating now. This pattern will continue to repeat itself, with your children and their children until it is dealt with head on. If you were raised to believe success meant love – then your drive for fame – even as a Christian – has revealed itself. You falsely assume fame will bring you the love you’ve been missing.
Scazerro has a few points in his book on how we mismanage our emotions and one is “Using God to Run From God”. We stay busy doing things for God, using Scripture to judge others, taking Scripture out of context to blame our family life, and telling God what to do for us, rather than submit to His will, are just a few examples of “Using God to Run From God”. I’ll go one step further; serving in church, writing our Christian blogs, speaking to Christian crowds, posting Scripture all day – for adoration- keeps us away from God – and emotionally immature.
God is here to help us mature spiritually but we have to be willing to look into our lives – our past lives and admit our family life is still shaping us today. We need to admit to God that we are broken – and that we’ve never emotionally matured. Then we must allow Him to mature us spiritually. Please don’t fall for the preaching that says God wants to bless you, and give you the desires of your heart – which equates to material and self-serving motives. Yes, God wants to bless you. He wants to give you the desires of your heart, but when you stop your pursuit of your dreams, and learn more about yourself, and your family, you will then see His blessings have more to do with peace and emotionally maturity so that you can be vital part in the kingdom of God.