There’s a lot of terms that can be used to sum up life in my home for the last few years.
“Carefree” isn’t one of them.
Just on my side I’ve battles ongoing with PTSD, ADD, Diabetes and now (finally) I know my back pain is actually a condition called “Scheuermann’s disease” and I’ve had it since my spine was still developing. It’s fun living in this body sometimes.
The one thing that has never been dampened through all of it is my faith.
I can concentrate for longer periods when it’s something to do with God than other stuff. I’ve struggled to stand or sit for long periods – except (usually) when it has something to do with Jesus.
I don’t think that’s coincidence.
Jesus never promised our lives would be carefree if we followed Him. In fact He promised the opposite. We would face persecution in many forms because the World would hate us just as it hates Him. We become Christians not to get an easy ride.
Anyone who thinks being a Christian means getting the top job with a good wage, 2.5 kids, a house in the ‘burbs with a dog and no confrontation or problems is delusional. Anyone who claims they never have any problems because they are Christians is probably doing it wrong (or smoking the really potent stuff).
The late Dave Duell said at a meeting in England several years ago that if we don’t run into the devil it’s because we’re going in the same direction.
And for the record, the devil’s name is not “Donald” or “Hillary” or “Republican” or “Democrat”. He’s the accuser, the father of lies, the destroyer. He comes only to steal, kill and destroy.
Maybe I should rethink the “name” comment? There’s enough hate being spewed by all sides in the US election garbage coverage that gets put out over the internet to fertilise the whole of Texas.
And the most alarming thing for me is who is spouting this latest drivel. Men and women I’ve previously respected as Christian leaders decrying the Democrats as the “enemy” or Donald as the “antichrist” (ok, that was a bit far, but I can see why they said it).
There’s nothing carefree about being a Christian at the moment.
This time in history is seeing a marked increase in the aggressive nature of Muslims – and I’m not talking about the politicised version present in Daesh. I’m talking about people I know, who I consider friends becoming more radical in their statements, their Facebook posts and tweets.
And it’s a response to what the radical “christians” are saying.
“Love your neighbour” has been replaced with “Love your neighbour as long as he/she is an accurate reflection of your own values”.
It’s a good job Jesus rose again, or He’d be turning in His grave…
Carefree living is what these “leaders” (in the loosest sense of the word) are promising. The freedom to live free – behind a wall. To worship freely – as long as you’re in the same denomination as the elected one. To carry guns freely (unless you’re not white) – because they don’t understand their own constitution.
Orwell wrote in “Animal Farm” that Napoleon the Pig re-wrote the rules to say “all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.” You don’t have to read the whole book (although you should) to see he was right. 1984 was meant as a warning, but is being used as a “how-to” guide for leadership.
The image here may be a fake – to be honest I’m not certain – but it certainly isn’t far from the truth of the way the world lives right now.
We are supposed to live a life of Freedom, but we happily trade this Freedom Christ gave up everything to purchase for us in order to feel “protected” by the close eye of, well these days anyone with a video camera and a home computer. My cell phone has not one, but 2 cameras on it, designed to get perfect shots in near darkness. My computer has just one – usually covered with masking tape as they didn’t make an “app” that can remove it yet.
But I’m sure Apple are working on it.
The irony is we were far more carefree when we didn’t have access to so much “important” “news” like the Kardashians, who wrote Donald’s latest speech, who allowed some fool who thought he was entitled to hold an opinion different than everyone else at the RNC – and air it.
Folks, I have disabled 90% of the news feeds that were automatically loaded on my phone when I got it. And I still get swamped every day by worthless words.
In fiction there was always said (in the books I grew up reading anyway) to be power in names. Dragons, mermaids etc would never divulge their name to a human because it gave that human power over them.
In Scripture we can see the Truth in the power of Words.
The old adage “words will never hurt me” was obviously said first by a hermit who had never encountered another living person.
Jesus was careful with what He said and to whom He said it. Consider the length of the Sermon on the Mount, and the last teaching He gave the disciples before His arrest in John 14-17. Compare it with how much He says to Herod and Pilate.
Words taken out of context can kill you.
In Business Communication we talk about “interference” in communication. This term refers to what was meant by the speaker and understood by the hearer of a simple phrase.
Take this one:
“God is for you”
Where we put the emphasis can change the meaning completely.
“God is for you”, “God is for you”, “God is for you” and “God is for you” all hold different meanings. And by stressing more than one word the number changes exponentially. It’s how the written text in the Bible has been twisted from a key to freedom into a hammer to beat down peoples throughout history.
And we add words to the statements as well. That’s what got Eve into trouble. God said “Don’t eat the fruit”. Satan asks her about it and the message is embellished to “don’t even touch it” either by Eve wanting to sound emphatic or because Adam had added to what God had told him.
We all know the result. Sin. Death.
God is not a Republican. Neither is He a Democrat. He’s certainly not a Communist or a member of the ANC, Conservatives, Labour, Liberal-Democrat or any other political party even (possibly especially) if it says “Christian” in the name of the party.
We are supposed to receive Life in abundance, not elections, and certainly not long-winded self-serving speeches.
Maybe not carefree – that will come after Christ returns and we go to spend eternity with Him – but certainly not oppressed the way we are today.
Russia has just banned all Christian meetings not taking place in a recognised church, and no correspondence of any kind mentioning God may be entered into by two people. Thankfully we are advised in Acts 5:29 to obey God, not men – although in Russia this may start to mean a long state-sponsored holiday to Siberia the way it did pre-Glasnost, and in the Middle-East it could result in decapitation at the hands of a lunatic. In the West and some emerging economies it will probably start costing promotions, employment, housing etc and Christians will be told to “get over” themselves because it’s not “real” persecution. After all, nobody in the West is ever killed for being a Christian. Unless you count Ireland where you need to be the right type of Christian, or America where you need to be the right colour of Christian.
So maybe my life isn’t carefree. In reality it never was after I left home – and for several years before that.
Neither is yours. But we can make moves together to walk back in the direction of the Cross and a life free of the cares of this World if we can just get past our own egos.
Make the step today.