Tuesday, February 15, 2011

We Want Comfort, Not Freedom

"For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." ~ Galatians 5:1 (ESV)

It only took 17 days for the Egyptians to throw out their dictator. Their primary reasons for throwing him out was joblessness and poverty. They very well may exchanged one dictator for a government of tyranny. This is nothing new. In 100 AD the Roman poet, Juvenal, coined the phrase panem et circenses, meaning "bread and circuses."  The tyrannical rulers of Rome knew the best way to please the crowd was to give away free bread and entertainment.

We live in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Are we truly brave enough to live in freedom, or are we just like the Romans . . . willing to sacrifice our freedom for comfort?  Who do we expect to take care of our poor and needy?  Who do we expect to take care of our sick?  Who do we expect to take care of our retirement?  Bread and circuses.

Thomas Jefferson wrote, "The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground." Government (and Satan) are all too happy to provide for us, but neither can free us.  Yet, government exists as it does only because it is an extension of us.  We blame government for removing our freedom through regulation and taxation, and then throw out any politician who dares threaten our comfort by cutting the government. We are hypocrites of a high order. And we, who have been set free by Christ, are we any different?  Freedom brings purpose and joy inexpressible, but it also brings responsibility.

We are free to hear personally from God. That freedom, however, requires that we rise early each morning to meet Him, to feast on His presence and His Word. Our pastors and teachers are needed to equip us, but they cannot eat for us. 

We are free from selfishness. Since God has promised to take care of us, we are now free to give of our time and resources sacrificially with a joyful heart.  Do we want that freedom, or would we rather hold onto what we have and put more in our barns?  Do we want the freedom of giving or the comfort of having?

We are free from the bondage of sin, but that freedom requires us to deny ourselves, our lusts, and our pride.  Do we want to be free from sin, or do we not rather enjoy the comfort of our sin?  Do we want to be holy, or would we not rather lay ourselves down in our beds of sin and wrap ourselves in a blanket of eternal security?  Have we not all prayed, "Now I lay me down to sleep I pray the Lord my soul to keep His love be with me through the night And wake me with the morning light And if I die before I wake I pray the Lord my soul to take"?

Even we, those who are followers of Christ, are naturally drawn to the bondage of comfort.  That is why Paul wrote the Galatians what He did. They were being tempted to give up the freedom of the Spirit-led life in exchange for the comfort of Jewish tradition.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  That freedom is costly, but it is life . . . real life.

All other is just bread and circuses.