Living the Gospel – June 30, 2019

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“Brothers and sisters: For freedom, Christ set us free; so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.” I think it is easy for us to read that line and think “slavery doesn’t exist anymore” and keep on reading, but the slavery Paul was talking about in this passage is still running rampant today, although it manifests itself differently today than it did when he wrote the epistle. “But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh.” In the world we live in today it is so easy to let the flesh drive. Consumerism is one of the biggest culprits, we see things and we want them. This is spurred on by the marketing we are flooded with from billboards to TV, to online ads. “For just 4 easy payments of 49.95 you too can….” These ads are appealing to us because we have a deep yearning that we believe can be satisfied by whatever is being sold in the ad. But these are just empty promises. I don’t mean the product is bad, in and of itself, or that owning it is a bad thing. What I am getting at is that much of the time we are trying to fill a void that can’t be filled with “things.” We have a yearning to look better, be stronger, look younger, lose weight, be taller, be shorter, the list goes on and on. And the vast majority of these things we want so other people will notice us or pay more attention to us. But I will let you in on a little secret, God is ALREADY paying attention to you. He loves you more than anyone on this earth possibly can. THAT is the freedom Paul was talking about, knowing that the living God loves us more than anything, and has more to offer than everything in this world combined. Freedom from the burdens of this world, freedom to know that we are beloved children of God, whose love surpasses anything we can imagine. Freedom to be who He made us to be, to do what He made us to do, within His guidelines and for His glory. Now some of you might be thinking, wait, if I have guidelines I need to stay within, am I really free? Well, let me illustrate it like this. When driving down the road there are guardrails to keep you from going into a field, in the ditch, or even off a cliff. I think we would all agree that the guard rails are there for our protection and not to keep us slaves to the road. God’s rules are like that, while the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life can be alluring, or even look beautiful to us, much like a beautiful view we might see when looking from a cliff. However, when we break thru God’s rules those things don’t seem quite so beautiful. We start to see the ugliness that was there behind the beautiful mask, much like the view changes immediately after driving thru a guardrail and off a cliff! That is how sin works, the reality never lives up to what the view promised, but with God, the reality is so much more beautiful than what the view can ever hope to show. So, rather than chase the lies that ads tell us, chase the truth, chase God. Pursue someone who brings life rather than something that promises beauty but ultimately brings death. Pursue freedom by getting to know a God who loves you more than you can ever imagine. Join me on the journey to get to know Him better! Turn the TV off, close the computer, put the phone down, get off Facebook and read of the love God has for you (that’s right, dust off that Bible.) Have a conversation with Him (also called prayer)or just “Be still, and know that I am God.”

Pax Christi,

John Mihalko