For Freedom’s Sake

11 Jun
from Google Images

from Google Images

Paul tells us that it was for the sake of liberty itself Christ has set us free, and therein stand fast, not permitting ourselves to give in to the efforts of other men to place us in bondage to themselves (Galatians 5:1).[1] Jesus said that all men would hate us, if we number ourselves with him (Matthew 10:22), but integrity cannot be bought or learned in a school. Rather it is learned by living out one’s ideals—what one holds most dear. If that is Jesus, then once we begin to apply Jesus’ life to ours—living as he lived—then we shall find that we are no longer part of this world but look for another, and for this, the world will hate us (John 17:14, cp. Luke 6:22).

In the world it becomes clear that those who are known as important men hold various positions of authority and exercise their power over others (Mark 10:42). That is, those over whom that power is exercised have no real choice. They must obey or pay the consequences. There is no room for disloyalty or freedom of choice in such circumstances. Jesus tells us that this is wrong, and it shall not work this way among us who are not of the world (cp. Mark 10:43-44). Rather, the leaders of God’s Kingdom subject themselves as servants to their brethren, and the greatest is the servant of all and this Servant is Jesus. The Kingdom of God has no parity with the kingdoms of this world (cp. Luke 22:27), neither does our Lord have any similarity with folks who rule this world. The will of God is never accomplished through force, neither can one legislate morality. This, of course, is opposed to this world’s philosophy and method of doing things.

Yet, one might ask: why is this so unworldly that the world would hate us if we practice such a way of life? Well, for one thing the world trusts nothing it cannot control, and it has no power over real freedom. If anyone controlled freedom, it would no longer be freedom. Jesus came into the world, because he loves the world—i.e. the people (John 3:15; cp. Philippians 2:4-11). Imagine what it would have been like for the believer in Christ to speak out for a Moslem during the 9/11 crises in the spirit of Matthew 5:44. What would it have been like, if one had protected Moslems and their children from verbal abuse in America during that time? What would it have meant for Christians to openly protest the torture interrogations carried out at Guantanamo Bay? We didn’t, of course, but I’m just saying: “What if…” If the world took to heart the love of Christ in a servant attitude, how could India’s cast-society survive? How could Moslem terror exist in the love of Christ? Could jihad be waged in the service of mankind for God’s glory? What would happen to Christians who take their faith seriously in societies such as these, especially during crises that threaten the way of life of that part of the world?

The one who chooses to serve others as Christ serves us must be on guard not only against intimidation and other tools of force, but also against manipulation, the passive tool of force. My wife once received a phone call from a salesperson around the time of America’s 200th anniversary. He was selling books about the founding of the United States. She declined the offer, but the salesperson then asked why she would do such a thing. Was she unpatriotic? My wife told him: “No! The price of your product is too high.” The sales practice was manipulative, and my wife felt it. This is one of the more obvious forms of manipulation. Another might be charitable organizations that advertise on TV, showing starving children, but the problem is that often less than 20 % of one’s gift gets to those in need. 80% goes to high salaries for the administrators and the high cost of advertising. There are better methods of helping the poor. Yet, those who refuse to use the world’s methods are often made to feel unloving. Manipulation is opposed to freedom and loving service.

Jesus often left an area where folks sought to manipulate him (Mark 8:11-13; John 6:15), and we should seek to go aside and rest as well. If we feel manipulated, we cannot serve the cause of Christ by yielding to the request (demand) of the manipulator. True love cannot be legislated, nor can it arise out of intimidation, nor is it the fruit of manipulation. If we feel manipulated but have trouble understanding how we should respond, perhaps the best thing to do would be to pause and take a time-out, so to speak, and remove ourselves from the situation, until we can speak and act in fellowship with Christ.


[1] As I said HERE, this current theme about the person of Jesus is based upon the book: The Jesus Style by Gayle Erwin. They are my thoughts about his book. He may or may not agree with the impression his book has made upon me, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading what Gayle wrote and recommend his book to anyone who is looking for a good read about Jesus.

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Posted by on June 11, 2015 in Jesus


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