The gospel of Christ is freedom. Freedom from the punishment of sin and its presence. But sin has secretly been enslaving me. I have discovered I have some patterns that appear Christlike, but are actually from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The truth is mixed with error and the result is bondage. Here are some ways sin has been directing in my life.
I have found that…
- I always leave the last piece of pie for someone else because it feels selfish to take it…
- but sometimes getting the last piece of pie is ok. Paul said, “I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity…” Philippians 4: 12 Notice, he lived in prosperity some of the time. He understood the Lord thinks it is all right for us to have the abundance in that last piece of pie. It is not selfish to have something someone else does not have. What is selfish is wanting the thing at another’s expense. The Lord does not say that we must always do without to be a good Christian. We can enjoy good things and still be His child.
- Secondly, when I leave the pie because taking it would make me feel selfish, I become the main character in Proverbs 23:7 “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, said he to you; but his heart is not with you.” Doing something so I don’t feel selfish is absurd. It seems to me, that denying my palate to appease my christian ethic is egocentric, hypocritical and sin; in other words selfish, the very thing I did not want to be. What I have learned is any deed done in hopes of keeping my christian integrity is filthy rags.
- So my solution is to be honest. “Dear heart,” I say, “I really would like that last piece of pie, but if you want it I will leave it for you.” Sometimes he says, “I would really like to eat it,” and because his pleasure is mine, I happily leave it for him. Other times he says, “That is fine, you have it,” and I enjoy every last bite.
And still other times he says, “Lets share it,” and we share the fork, the plate and the pie.
- I have a hard time saying no to someone in need, even if I don’t have the time, energy or goods to help them…
- There are times, I do not ask God if He would have me help. Sometimes I help because saying no makes me feel guilty. The bible says, “Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7 To assist because my overcritical mind forces me to do so, is giving under compulsion. The Lord refuses this type of offering.
He wants service from cheerful hearts, not works motivated from capricious guilt.
- I express legitimate needs to someone and if they don’t provide what I ask, I do without it or settle for less because I don’t want to bother them, lest they stop liking me…
- Basically I settle for less, because deep down I do not really think I am valuable enough to expect reasonable things from others. I take the short end of the stick because I do not want to ruffle their feathers and risk having them abandon me.
- In practice, not asserting my needs feels like “not seeking (my) own.” 1 Corinthians 13: 5 This makes me believe I am doing a godly thing. But in reality it is idolatry. Jesus said, “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” Matthew 10:37 When I walk away from an appropriate request because I am fearful of loosing love, it is making the person more important than Christ and His standards.
- The bible says, “… if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” 1 Timothy 5:8 I can expect that those I am close to should respond to my needs because God enlists them to do so. So when I accept less than what is right I negate this principle.
- Lastly, the Lord created us social beings. He wants our relationships to exhibit the dynamics He expresses in His relationship with us. In that, He expects all parties to be sensitive to other’s needs. When I ignore my own needs, I set up a new paradigm. I tear down the reciprocal nature of God’s order for society and create a one sided, unbiblical model.
I have resolved to allow God to meet all my needs; realizing He often does this by having my loved ones be accountable in doing so.
- I am too invested in other people’s feelings. By too invested I mean I feel responsible for making sure they are happy…
- That is usurping God’s position. The Bible says, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace…” Romans 15:13 God is in charge of providing joy; not me. But historically, when I see those I love suffering, I don the red cape and blue leggings. I fly to their rescue. I take care of the problem and take care of them, because I have believed it is my job to do all I can to make sure their lives go smoothly.
- I have tried to live out Galatians 6:2 “bear one another’s burdens and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” But I stopped reading too soon. Verse three says, “For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” Well thinking that I am responsible to make sure others are happy is more than God requires. He wants me to sympathize with and encourage those in trouble. He wants me to provide tangible help; but feeling responsible for their well being is making myself out to be “something when (I) am nothing”.
- Verse 4 says, “But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another.” The minute I allow myself to be the super-hero and rescue someone, I take away their ability to have “reason for boasting in regard to himself alone…” I take away their independence. They loose their responsibility for self determination.
- Finally, verse five says, “For each one will bear his own load.” It can’t be any clearer than that. I am to help carry burdens, but the ultimate responsibility for other people’s load is with themselves. I am not to pay for the car insurance every time my young adult misses a payment. I do not need to change vacation plans because someone has a personal crisis. I do not have to pay for and cook all the meals at my family of origin reunion. (I am ashamed to say, I have done all these things.)
God has taught me that I am supposed to allow others to carry their own problems so they can take them to Christ and find that He is “a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1
As I said before: sin has been directing in my life.
The christian things I do, motivated by my need to be a good person, keep me in slavery.
But the Lord says, “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind…” Jeremiah 17:10
He alone can search and rescue me from the sophistries of sin.
So God has my permission to test everything.
I am willing to have Him uncover every secret.
And as He is doing this I am finding a freedom I never knew was possible.
I am now free to eat that last piece of pie without guilt.
I am free to say no.
I am free to take care of my needs.
I am free to support those in pain, without having to rescue them.
Ultimately, my greatest liberty is that I am free to be me, in Christ.Share This: