1 Peter 2:16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.
In my defective thinking, as God has forgiven me, I am now free to do whatever I want. Living in God’s grace means no consequences, so I am free to do as I please, right? It is my God-given right to live life as I see fit. I am after all, an American.
The irony is of course, that it has been the pursuit of my own desires that has led me away from God and into the worst destruction of my life. I think, when I pursue self that I am living free, doing as I please. The reality however, is that when I pursue the desires of my flesh, I become enslaved to them and in the end, my supposed freedom is revealed as a bitter mirage.
The paradox of the Christian life is that if I want to truly be free, I need to surrender my will to follow God’s will. I resist this idea, as I think that freedom means doing what I want. It is however, in doing what I want, that I become enslaved. The works of the flesh, which Paul said were obvious, sexual immorality, impurity, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, envy, and drunkenness are addictions that chain me to myself and rob me of my freedom.
God never enslaves us. Sin always enslaves us. God wants us to be free to be what we were created to be. He wants us to be free from ourselves and he longs for us to pursue him. It is only in pursuing him that we are set free from ourselves.
When I was doing what I wanted, I became paralyzed by my own addiction to self and I could not follow God. I am always going to follow some god. When I insist on doing what Scott wants, I am making a god of my own will. If I make a god of my stomach, my own appetite will enslave me. I make a terrible, destructive god.
One of the greatest accomplishments of the devil is to convince me that I am living free because I am not as bad as that guy. Many of us have lived addicted to some small flesh behavior that is just not that destructive. I’m not hurting anyone when I look at pornography… I don’t use drugs, I just get a little angry sometimes… I’m not obsessed with self, I just want to feel good about myself… I can stop anytime I want… It’s not that big of deal… It is often the subtle, insidious tolerance of little things that keeps us chained to self.
If I want to live free, I will daily do whatever it takes to leave behind self and pursue God. It is in the paradox of abandoning me and following God that I truly become free.