Monday, March 22, 2010

What is Its Function?

"Don't be fooled by the apparent innocence of the object you've chosen. What is its function? Most of our idols also have a perfectly legitimate place in our lives. That's their cover. That's how we get away with our infidelity." ~ John Eldredge, The Journey of Desire

How easy it is to justify things which lead us to sin by claiming them within our Christian freedom. We have no trouble pointing out the sin of the world, which I find less and less troubling all the time, but have a huge problem disciplining our live to one of holiness. We have allowed "innocent" looking things to allow sin to have a foothold in our lives.

One of the ways this is seen is the entertainment we allow into our lives. How often do we stop and ask; "What is the purpose of this in my life?" We are being entertained to death and we allow our time to float away without giving it a second thought. What good could we do if we did not allow our lives to be consumed by television, movies, music, and video games? We are missing out on the life God wants us to live because we have not addressed the function of entertainment in our lives.

Think about "traditions" like High School prom. What function does it serve in our lives? We don't bother to ask the most basic questions about an event, but we are willing to spend hundreds of dollars to have a few hours of fun.

Holiness is not determined by the standards we have set up for our lives, rather holiness is determined by the standard shown to us by the life of Jesus Christ. That standard is one which loves unconditionally and without compromise tells the truth to people who have heard nothing but lies. We have to begin to question the purpose of the actions, traditions, beliefs, the fun, and the education that we allow into our lives. Not everything that is within our freedom to enjoy as Christians is beneficial to the life God has called us to live as we follow Jesus.

What matters is not the question, "Do I have the freedom to do this?", but "How does this affect my relationship with God?". If it does then you are not "free" to indulge in that activity.

This is one of the lessons we learn from the story of the rich young man:
"Teacher, what good things must I do to have eternal life?" Why ask me about what is good?" Jesus replied. "Only God is good. But to answer your question, you can receive eternal life if you keep the commandments." "Which ones?" the man asked.And Jesus replied: "`Do not murder. Do not commit adultery. Do not steal. Do not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother. Love your neighbor as yourself.'" "I've obeyed all these commandments," the young man replied. "What else must I do?" Jesus told him, "If you want to be perfect, go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." But when the young man heard this, he went sadly away because he had many possessions. Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to get into the Kingdom of Heaven. I say it again--it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!" The disciples were astounded. "Then who in the world can be saved?" they asked. Jesus looked at them intently and said, "Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible" (Matthew 19:16-26; NLT)

Money is not, by nature, evil, but if the function money is to provide us with the "good life" it becomes evil because we use it selfishly rather than using it to be a blessing to others. Are you willing to let go of the "innocent" things in your life that are getting in the way of your relationship with God? Until we are able to do this we will constantly be blocked from living the life God has promised us through His Son Jesus.

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