One of the great debates that goes on in America today is the debate between security vs. freedom. While both are desired, neither holds the complete answer. One can be secure in a prison, but they aren’t free, and it is certainly not a way most of us would want to live. The rich among us often think that their money gives them both freedom and security; however, being a slave to money and the constant quest for more of it is not true freedom, and money is more often then not here today and gone tomorrow, so it provides no real security in the long run. Just look at the past two Wall Street crashes in 2001 and 2008 and The Great Depression in the 1930’s where fortunes were literally lost overnight.
YourDictionary.com defines freedom as follows:
Freedom is defined as the state of being free, independent, without restrictions, or release from prison. Examples include:
–a bird being let out of a cage.
–a woman regaining her independence after a controlling marriage is over.
–the right of U.S. citizens to express their ideas and opinions.
–a prisoner being let out of prison after serving their time.
And security is defined as follows (source: YourDictionary.com):
1. The state of being or feeling secure; freedom from fear, anxiety, danger, doubt, etc.; state or sense of safety or certainty;
2. Something that gives or assures safety, tranquility, certainty, etc.; protection; safeguard.
It goes without saying that most of us want both, and in a prosperous country like America we view money as being the main source that will give us both. But all of the money in the world can’t save us from some of the greatest threats to our freedom and security including the threat of more acts of terrorism being carried out on our own soil (e.g., like 9/11) or yet another and more devastating Wall Street crash. And all the money in the world can’t prevent us from succumbing to terminal illness; or divorce and all of the devastation it brings with it (including the toll on our children), or stop the erosion of our own rights as U.S. citizens. Even that bigger house or fancier car can be destroyed in a natural disaster or an accident. We’ve become slaves to the very things that we own or want to own more of (like money and all it can buy), and all of that “stuff” is temporary at best. No one really knows what tomorrow will bring, but we strive to try and make it as secure as possible and live under the illusion that, for however long it lasts, we are succeeding at it. And we end up living for the temporary instead of the eternal.
We put way too much stock in the power of money, and way too little stock in the power of God. We try to mix the two all the time and God will have none of it. Jesus clearly stated in Matthew 6:24 that “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” And we are reminded again in I John 2:15-16, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.” But do we even pay attention anymore?
Apparently, we don’t . . . at least not in 21st Century America . . . .
We try to worship at the altars of both money and God (and Jesus said it can’t be done), and most of the time the acquiring of money and material possessions and the lifestyle that goes with it takes precedence except maybe when we are attending church on Sunday and giving homage to God for an hour or two. And that leaves the other 166 hours in the week to do whatever we want, including indulging in that constant quest for more that is never satisfied. And we don’t even care how we get it anymore, either. Even our ethics have died in the pursuit of the almighty dollar.
If we want genuine freedom and security, it is only found in one place, and that is in Jesus Christ. And the freedom and security He gives us has nothing to do with the definition of freedom and security in this world of ours. No, the freedom and security He gives us is eternal and not found in anything or anyone else on this Earth for the very brief number of years any of us are given to live here.
Our Daily Bread published a devotion on September 11, 2014, titled, “Born to Rescue,” and it points to the only One who is able to give us the genuine freedom and security we so often seek in other things or other people. It was published on the 13th anniversary of 9/11 and here is what the author, Dennis Fisher, had to say:
After the terrorist attack and the collapse of the Twin Towers in New York City on September 11, 2001, Cynthia Otto took care of the search-and-rescue dogs. Years later she established a Working Dog Center where young pups are put through specialized training to prepare them to help victims of disaster.
Otto made this comment about these rescue animals: “There are so many jobs now that dogs are being used for . . . and they can save lives.” Otto said that these puppies will one day give vital aid to people in life-threatening circumstances. They are “born” to rescue others.
The Bible tells us of the Messiah who was born to rescue humanity from the penalty of sin. What He did rises above all earthly comparison. Two thousand years ago, God Himself became human in order to do for us what we could not do for ourselves. When Jesus became a man, He understood and proclaimed that He was born to rescue (John 12:27). “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).
Let us praise our wonderful Savior—Jesus Christ—who was born to save all who will accept His offer of salvation.
Use us, Lord, and make us humble,
Rescue us from foolish pride;
And when we begin to stumble,
Turn our thoughts to Christ who died. ~Sper
Christ came to seek and to save the lost.
I’m old enough to remember when that was the simple message of the church. Now we hype it up and include everything our culture indulges us with in that message as if we can still have it all and Jesus, too. And we hide our selfish indulgences behind all kinds of Christian verbiage in order to live life on our terms and make is sound like it’s okay . . .
And it’s not okay . . . .
We act as if spiritual warfare (see Ephesians 6:10-18) is a thing of the past. In fact, it is rarely a subject that is taught in most of our churches today. And many of the younger Christians in our midst (not to mention a lot of the olders folks who have forgotten what it is) have no clue as to what exactly spiritual warfare is in our self indulgent, materialistic version of Christianity in America.
In a devotion titled, “Fight or Die,” written and published in “Tozer on Christian Leadership: A 366 Day Devotional,” for November 11 by A.W. Tozer (1897-1963), Dr. Tozer makes it very clear that we are fighting in a war and not just having fun on America’s playground (source here):
Fight or Die
For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.—1 John 2:16-17
Someday the church can relax her guard, call her watchmen down from the wall and live in safety and peace; but not yet, not yet….
The healthiest man has enough lethal bacteria in him to kill him within twenty-four hours except for one thing-the amazing power of the human organism to resist bacterial attack. Every mortal body must fight its internal enemies day and night. Once it surrenders its hours are numbered. Quite literally it must fight or die….
The church lives in a hostile world. Within and around her are enemies that not only could destroy her, but are meant to and will unless she resists force with yet greater force. The Christian would collapse from sheer external pressure were there not within him a counter-pressure sufficiently great to prevent it. The power of the Holy Spirit is, therefore, not optional but necessary. Without it the children of God simply cannot live the life of heaven on earth. The hindrances are too many and too effective. (From “That Incredible Christian” by A.W. Tozer).
“Thank You for the power of the Holy Spirit within me to wage this constant warfare for me. In my flesh I am so weak for such unrelenting battle. Give Your strength today. Amen.”
Too often in our 21st Century culture we don’t resist much of anything that comes our way. We give in over and over again to our whims and our greed while claiming that the blood of Christ covers it all, and that makes it all okay. And that kind of “theology” doesn’t exist in the Bible. A selfish way of living is absolutely the opposite of how Jesus taught us to live as His disciples. And it brings with it neither the security nor the freedom that Jesus offers us if we will only live His way and not by our own devices.
We’ve turned the page, for a new day has dawned
We’ve re-arranged what is right and what’s wrong
Somehow we’ve drifted so far from the truth
That we can’t get back home
Where are the virtues that once gave us light
Where are the morals that governed our lives
Someday we all will awake and look back
Just to find what we’ve lost
We need to get back
To the basics of life
A heart that is pure
And a love that is blind
A faith that is fervently
Grounded in Christ
The hope that endures for all times
These are the basics,
We need to get back
To the basics of life
The newest rage is to reason it out
Just meditate and you can overcome every doubt
After all man is a God, they say
God is no longer alive
But I still believe in the old rugged cross
And I still believe there is hope for the lost
And I know the rock of all ages will stand
Through changes of time
We’ve let the darkness invade us too long
We’ve got to turn the tide
Oh and we need the passion that burned long ago
To come and open our eyes
There’s no room for compromise
[Lyrics compliments of MetroLyrics.com]
Those words are even more relevant today then they were back in 1992. And we have drifted even farther away from the truth since that time. “We’ve let the darkness invade us too long, and we’ve got to turn the tide.”
As the words to the song ask, “Where are the virtues that once gave us light? Where are the morals that governed our lives? Someday we all will awake and look back just to find what we’ve lost.” If we don’t act now, it will be too late. We need to get back to “a faith that is fervently grounded in Christ and the hope that endures for all times.” These are the basics of life, and . . .
We need to get back to the basics of life . . .
There is no room for compromise . . . .
YouTube Video: “The Basics of Life” by 4Him: