Everyone wants freedom, yet they are enslaved by fleshly passions. The groaning of the soul goes unheard as people chase the latest technology, celebrities, the best car, trends in fashion, and the next up and rising porn star. Passions replace wisdom and the feet are quick to run to death as they pursue the age-old saying of "follow the heart." The hole that is left by these worldly passions is ever growing with the antidote of Christ being rejected on every platform in today's society. This post will focus on fleshly indebtedness and spiritual freedom and why the "American Dream" is a far fetched fantasy.
"Do not love the world nor the things in the world If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever." (1 John 2:15-17).
God warns through the disciple John that treasure that is established on this earth will perish and be swallowed up entirely. There are some that state that one can love the world and love God. This is far from the truth and they are deceiving themselves, blind to the ultimate end.
If one has ever taken a driving course or alcohol/drug awareness course, sometimes the instructors will give out "beer googles" where the students will see as if they were impaired. This distorted reality is how the world sees and acts, always stumbling over the next trend and corruption and is blinded by human folly. Understanding the fleetingness of earthly gain first is paramount to understanding the bottom corruption: greed.
Internal Change Will Become Outward Change: What Spiritual Freedom Looks like for the Christian
"Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:11-13
God illustrates through Paul that when His children have a spirit that is malleable, it is pleasing to Him. When most people quote from this passage, they love to only state the "I can do all things through Him (some translations will say 'through Christ') who strengthens me" part. They forget that before this bit, Paul describes ongoing spiritual sanctification with Christ that comes from "mountain-top experiences" (living in prosperity) and valleys (suffering need, going hungry).
Do you think that God sprinkles joy or wisdom on someone without allowing them to go through a situation to be joyful or to gain wisdom? Paul is stating that because of these things and God's perfect nature, He will not forsake. It is not because of anything we do but through God's assistance and guidance.
For more insight on finding purpose, please see the following articles:
Finding Biblical Purpose
The Many Faces of Indebtedness
Indebtedness can come like a thief, or build up like war. I speak of war because when this sin is confronted, it isn't easy to win the battle. It's messy and may result in suffering need. Indebtedness wears many faces and is interlaced by several lies. It can come in the form of money, owing someone something, unforgiveness, theft, and self-degradation. Perhaps the idolization of the "American Dream" has made these more prominent. A white picket fence, a large house, the best car, best clothes, and a fancy job only get one so far in life. It is like dressing up a leper without curing the disease.
"Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless" (Ecclesiastes 5:10).
"Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed" (1 Timothy 6:17-19).
"Let no debt remain outstanding except the continuing debt to love one another" (Romans 13:8).
"The wicked borrows and does not repay, But the righteous shows mercy and gives" (Psalm 37:21).
God allows some to be rich and some to be poor. Each person is in a different stage in life. For the nonbeliever, this could be God bringing judgment or calling them to Himself.
For the believer, it could be allowing them to be rich to give to others or in discipline to show them their idols and the emptiness pursuing wealth will leave. In contrast, He could allow times of hunger to enable a deeper trust in Him (as seen in the story of the widowed woman of one of Elisha's pupils in 2 Kings 4:1-7, read the article at Bible Gateway here), and in the story of Job, or through discipline as seen with the Israelites throughout the Old Testament.
Further examples of life's trials are in the below articles:
Through the Valleys
The Fight to Preserve Freedom
Following the Heart Leads to Death
Put bluntly, sin is only favorable for a season and then eventually and inevitably leads to destruction and death. "Follow your heart" is perhaps one of the greatest deceits since the fall. God warns that the "heart is deceitful above all things" (Jeremiah 17:9) and should not be trusted. After all, facts shouldn't be led by feelings in the sanctification train as Sarah Young (author of Jesus Calling) suggests as she also suggests that she met God "through a feeling," which--by the way,--is also the same false doctrine that Bethel Church in Redding, CA teaches alongside witchcraft openly practiced in their sermons. Emotions do not and should not make up the engine, but should make up the caboose.
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The Price of Freedom
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The Heart Cry
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