Freedom & Purpose
If you have grown up in the United States as a citizen, you have no doubt been taught you are free and that freedom is the sine qua non of life. We love freedom. We write books and make movies about freedom. We teach our children about freedom. We craft laws and policy to protect freedom. We fight for freedom. Freedom probably has the top place on the list of priorities for most every American.
So, listen to what Paul has to say about freedom in our lives:
I have the freedom to do anything, but not everything is helpful. I have the freedom to do anything, but I won’t be controlled by anything. (1 Corinthians 6:12)
Let me paraphrase: Just because you are free to do something doesn’t mean you should do it. Freedom can actually exert a controlling influence in your life.
It may seem paradoxical, but being free to do anything can make a person a slave to their desires. So freedom must be balanced with something else. Listen to what Paul says next:
“Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food,” and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is meant not for fornication but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. (1 Corinthians 6:13)
Paul is asking us to think about what we are meant for…what we are made for…what our purpose is. In other words, we should balance freedom with meaning and purpose. What keeps us from being a slave to our wants and desires is allowing the meaning and purpose for which God created us to guide our lives and actions.
I wonder how it might change us Americans if we took this more seriously? What if instead of teaching, protecting and fighting for unmitigated freedom, we started learning and discerning the meaning and purpose of our lives? What if the meaning and purpose God has for us was the sine qua non of our lives instead of freedom? What if God rose up our priority list to the top?
Perhaps if we balanced freedom with meaning and purpose, we would learn to live out Paul’s instruction and only exercise our freedom when it is beneficial to everyone.
Take some time to prayerfully consider places in your life where you might need to hold off doing something because you are free to do it while you consider the meaning and purpose of your life as God’s child and what is good and beneficial for you and those around you.
If You Missed Sunday’s Sermon…
Read or listen to Baptism: Turning Towards Ministry – Mark 1:4-11
God’s Words for This Week
1 Samuel 3:1-20 – Then the Lord came and stood there, calling just as before, “Samuel, Samuel!” Samuel said, “Speak. Your servant is listening.” (CEB, v.10)
Psalm 139:1-6,13-18 -O Lord, you have searched me and known me. … Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it. (NRSV, v.1 & 6)
1 Corinthians 6:12-20 – “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. (NIV, v.12a)
John 1:43-51 – Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” (NRSV, v.46)
This Week at Hood
Wednesday, January 10, 6:45 pm – Choir Practice
Wednesday, January 10, 6:00 pm – Young-ish Adult Small Group
Thursday, January 11, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm – Pastor Jason at The Cellar for Drop-In Coffee & Conversation (108 N Wilson St)
Sunday, January 14, 9:15 am – Men’s Group Breakfast at Cracker Barrell
Sunday, January 14, 11:00 am – Worship
Sunday, January 14, 12:15 pm – 2:30 pm – Elder & Deacon Training
Sunday, January 14, 1:30 pm – 2:00 pm – Church Board Meeting
January 17, 2018
January 16, 2018
January 09, 2018