“Honey, if your friends were jumping off a bridge would you jump too?” Sheepishly we mumble a no and usually go pout for a little while as our brains catch up to our hearts and we realize that our parents might maybe be a little bit right.
Few of us actually care about what is true by God’s standard. Our sinful human nature wants to believe a truth that is popular. A truth that looks “close enough” to God’s truth but justifies something we previously knew was sin, or a truth that is more “enlightened” than God’s truth because it is more “loving” and less “judging”. We like playing God and defining truths like these. They are more comfortable truths. We enjoy living a deception that makes us feel better about ourselves and others.
Freedom, just for the sake of freedom, will breed rebellion in our hearts. Freedom for the sake of seeking the heart of God though, breeds life; it causes us to experience the love of God in a pure way.
When we think of the word “pure”, we tend to think of “perfection.” We can’t mess up. We can’t sin or make a mistake. But we forget about the other synonyms for the word like “authentic,” “plain,” “real,” “simple,” and “transparent.” Purity is deeper than a perfect performance. It’s more than a list of rights and wrongs. Purity gives us a crystal, clear focus.
If we surrender our fears and stresses to God day by day, we can be present in the moment instead of adding to that mile long agenda. When we submit to God and trust Him, we are released from the self-absorption that comes along with holding on to our fears. This is when we are free to invest in others and be a presence in their lives.
Now that I am nineteen years old, the gift opening process has lost some of its magic. I can’t decide if this is because I don’t have a list of thirty-five different toys I want, or because I don’t open toys that my cousins and I sit and play with on the floor together all day, or some other unknown reason. I have found more joy in watching my young cousins faces when they open their presents. I can’t help but wonder if my parents watched my face like that.
It’s your life. It’s your choice. But this emphasis on individuality comes at a cost. We’ve become lonely and isolated, so consumed with self that we become a stranger to the other. Is this really the gospel way of life?
He stepped down from heaven to move to earth. To us. The real estate wasn’t better, that’s for sure. His motivation wasn’t better scenery and a shorter commute. His move to us was to make a way for us to move toward Him.
If I were to imagine myself there in Bethlehem all those years ago, walking toward baby Jesus in His manger, I imagine I would be met with an inner conflict. Yes, this baby is to be the Savior of the world; however, I think I would be wrestling with the thought of how dirty I felt in His presence. He was born as an act of love to save me, yet if this baby could comprehend all the struggles in my brain and all the sins I wrestle with…well, wouldn’t that be a tad inappropriate?
People may not have been happy, but I felt freedom in knowing that my Savior was. Living a life modeled after Christ isn’t the norm. It takes strength and courage to stand up against the strong cultural current. And people aren’t going to like it.