Monday, December 26, 2016

The Lighthouse

“When in the course of human events…”

Freedom.  Freedom is something we all passionately pursue from the time that we are young.  As children and teenagers we push boundaries with the adults in our lives.  As adults we do what we can to have as broad control over the details of our lives that we can - by getting an education, by climbing a corporate ladder, by going into business for ourselves - or by numerous other means.  

To risk stating the blindingly obvious - we were made for freedom.  We have a natural hunger to have the most broad influence on the world around us that we can manage to muster.  Thirty seconds of introspection will bear this out to anyone able to read this.

Strictly speaking though, we simply *are* free - we can choose to think, and thus act in anyway we like.  Our fellow humans can limit or enhance the impact that we have on the world around us, but they can’t affect our underlying freedom.  So while we treat Freedom as a quest a lot of the time - in reality, it’s pretty much just a fact. 

Of course - when basic things like food, water or openly worshiping God without negative consequences are withheld by others, having freedom in these externals can rightly become a quest.  Though even when externally oppressed, our ability to think and act as we see fit are ultimately unaffected.

A seeming contradiction to the fact that we were made for freedom - is that we were also made to think and to do only a limited subset of all things that we might … namely, the best things - the most loving, good, and praise-worthy things.

Again - for any human who’s conscience hasn’t been dulled in the extreme, a little introspection will bear out the fact that there exist things that we fundamentally know that we shouldn’t do - killing our neighbor, cheating on our spouse, or robbing a bank to name some more obvious examples.

So what’s the problem then?  We have a built-in understanding about the best things to do - and we have the freedom to do them.  Seems like we’re all set. 

The problem, of course, is that mixed in among these two attributes - is an extremely self-centered tendency to follow our appetites at the expense of our understanding about the best thing to do.  

So how do we get on track - and live the life that was intended for us.   We need a lighthouse - a way to see the right through the fog of our own passions.  Ultimate Freedom - Freedom from ourselves.

This is the entire point of the Bible.  The Bible is an assembly of books written over many years by the hands of many different people.  It’s sole purpose is to offer us an understanding of God’s thinking about how we can live and interact with him. 

To use some jargon - that self-centered tendency to follow our appetites at the expense of the best thing, the Bible calls sin.  To allow us the freedom to live as we were intended - an elaborate plan has been devised and executed.  I can’t do it justice in a few words on this blog - but God provides us this lighthouse in Jesus - who is both God and Man simultaneously.  By simply believing him and doing as he asks, we can win our freedom back.  

We can live as we desire - and, ultimately, as we were constructed to live.  And we can avoid the natural and appropriate consequences of living in a way far beneath our ultimate purpose.

Your Friend,