Recent news headlines have created quite the firestorm! As I scroll through my Facebook newsfeed, it’s easy to notice that each of my 1500 closest friends have VERY different opinions about the transgender bathroom issue… More than anything, people seem concerned about protecting their freedom. Whether that freedom involves using any bathroom they choose or preventing someone else from encroaching on their freedom to feel safe in a specific gender bathroom, we all want to fight to protect our freedom.
As the Real Impact Missions staff met to pray this morning, our Founder, Scott Boss, raised an interesting question:
Why do we always ask, “CAN I do this?” when, as believers, we need to ask “SHOULD I do this? Is it good?“
As Americans, we hold our freedom near to our hearts. As believers, we often champion the freedom we have in Christ. But, is it possible that we have the wrong idea about what freedom really is?
The Apostle Paul tells us:
Looking at it one way, you could say, ‘Anything goes. Because of God’s immense generosity and grace, we don’t have to dissect and scrutinize every action to see if it will pass muster.’ But the point is not to just get by. We want to live well, but our foremost efforts should be to help others live well. (1 Corinthians 10:23-24 MSG)
And later he says:
It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. (Galatians 5:13-15 MSG)
Christians have infinite freedoms in Christ, but sometimes we think so small. We fixate on whether I can drink or cuss or share my opinion or work half-heartedly or overspend or exclude people. We claim that Christ has paid the debt for our sins so we no longer need to live to a certain standard. We can do whatever we want. If we believe this, we’re missing the point!
Instead of walking around asking what we CAN do (trying to determine what’s okay or attempting to defend our own ideas), we need to be asking what we SHOULD do. It’s not about ‘Can I wear this outfit or sing these song lyrics or get this tatoo or skip church on Sunday morning?’ Rather, the BIG PICTURE is, ‘Should I behave in this way? Should I use these words? Should I make this choice?’ We should evaluate our actions and opinions carefully:
- Do they EXALT Christ?
- Do they SERVE others?
- Are they GOOD?
President John F. Kennedy nailed it in his 1961 Inaugural Address when he said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what YOU can do for your country.” In other words, President Kennedy asked Americans to SERVE and to SACRIFICE for the good of our nation. His wisdom echoes what we hear from the Cross:
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to SERVE, and to GIVE His life a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45, NASB)
Jesus Christ had and continues to have ALL the freedom that could ever be had. Yet He never asked, ‘CAN I do this?’ Instead, He laid down His life for us. That sacrifice gave us the freedom in which we now stand, and that freedom should not be taken lightly. As Christ followers, we need to ask ‘SHOULD I do this? Is it good? Does it exalt Christ and serve others?’
So today, let me challenge you not to get distracted by the headlines and controversies of today. When you think about the freedom you long to protect or the freedom you think other people should or should not have, do not stop short of the BIG picture. Focus all of your attention on the sacrifice and service that Jesus offered at the Cross. He laid aside His freedom that we might be free.
How can we do anything less than daily use our incredible freedom in order to SERVE one another and draw the lost to Christ?