The Real Problem Behind Our Problems
A single event can shape your future. You often don’t realize it at the time. It’s just a single choice, a single opportunity, a single moment in time, but you look back later and you realize that a single choice shaped the rest of your life. For me, it was the attempt to compete in a speaking tournament when I was just 16. My football season was lost to a surgeon’s knife and I was overwhelmingly sad. But a brand new teacher invited me to try something new and different. The lessons learned over those coming months have shaped my career, my strengths, and my leadership skills, but they all came because of one invitation that I accepted.
Over the last two years, I have become increasingly aware of something that should have been obvious. As I watch our society splinter and fracture over issues and beliefs and values, I see at the heart of all of these a common problem, a common choice. It’s as old as humanity itself. What is it?
We want to be our own god.
We want to define right and wrong. We want to have OUR will fulfilled. We want our way, our preferences, our happiness, our rights, our desires, and our dreams. We do that because we believe that all things revolve around and only have meaning in ourselves. We won’t admit it. We have learned the appropriate social graces and theology to live in denial of that, to cover it up when it starts to become obvious to others. We want to be in charge of our own lives. Period.
So when God calls us to something that contradicts that–to a moral standard, to an act of generosity, to an action of forgiveness, to an action of compromise, to an abandonment of something precious–we typically balk. “It’s not fair.” “I deserve this.” And ultimately, we wind up saying “It’s MY LIFE!” This is true unless you gave your life to Jesus because He gave up his life for you. Then, none of that’s true. The truth is quite different: “Jesus, YOU have the right, YOU have the lead, YOU know what’s best, YOU do all things well, YOU are my reward.” And if we get that, we are surprised to find how liberating it is!
We want to be our own god, but we don’t have the heart for it. And we tend to leave messes in our wake when we act like it.
The path to freedom is simple. We believe, say, and live this truth before Jesus: “Jesus, I am the servant and YOU are the king!”