How to Live Like a Christian
(June 23, 2022)
It's not your freedom to choose that makes you free. It's what you choose in that freedom that makes you free. -- Erwin McManus, Postmodern Pastor
Probably if we were do a count of the most frequently encountered words in today’s news stories, we’d find freedom and choice somewhere on the top of that word count. Unfortunately, these words are also being used by politicians these days to frighten people, to claim that these are the two things people will risk by voting for “the other guy.”
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The freedom to choose – or what religious teachers have called free will – has been a hot button topic from the Bible’s Book of Genesis. The freedom to choose was one of God’s gifts to Adam and Eve, along with the temptation of low hanging fruit on the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. There, of course, is the challenge. Freedom is a wonderful thing. But when we don’t clearly understand what our goals should be in the future, it is easy to stray off the straight path that should lead to goodness.
What it Means to Follow Christ
In Luke’s Gospel this Sunday, Jesus responds in what seems like a strange way to a few young men who have chosen to follow him. In one case, the young man begs Jesus to accept him, but wants to go home first and say goodbye to his family before joining up. Jesus refuses, saying, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” While this sounds harsh, we need to think about the metaphor of the man plowing the field. If the one steering the plow allows himself to turn around with constant distractions from the task at hand, how straight is that row he’s plowing going to be?
When we ask to follow Jesus and call ourselves “Christian,” that means choosing to truly LIVE our life like Jesus, not to merely wear that title like a badge, and diverge from the loving, compassionate path when it suits us.
This Sunday we will look at how we can LIVE the life, and not to be “Christian in Name Only.”