I was debating on what I should write my first blog about. I mean, a part of me thinks all my blogs should be super theological and mind-blowing, but then I looked at my GPA and realized that might not be in the cards for me.
Anyways, youth are looking for silliness and fun, right? But then it wouldn’t be ministry if it were always fun and silly which means I need to be provocative and relevant. Catchy names, controversial issues--that’s what my blog needs to be all about.
Then I realized, youth ministry, like all forms of ministry, has an element of freedom to it. I can glorify God by being theological as I can glorify Him by being silly, and I can even glorify Him by being controversial. I think that is the beauty of this blog. I can do anything from movie and videogame reviews, to serious issues that are pressing on my heart, to sports (probably not so many on those, but you never know), to whatever I want as long as I do it with the right heart.
So for my first ever blog, I am going to do one of those list things (those seem pretty popular) on the top misconceptions of Freedom!
1. Freedom is not I can do whatever I want. When I think of freedom, I get this mental image of Uncle Sam with an eagle on his shoulder and the flag in his hand saying, “I can do what I want, ‘MERICA.” Sadly, it is this image of freedom that we Christianize (the act of making something more Christian sounding). We think, “Hey, Jesus died for my Sins and loves me as I am, so I can do what I want.” That is not the freedom that Paul is mentioning in Galatians 5:1. Paul reminds us that we were once slaves to our Sins, unable to choose to do the good that God wants us to do. However, God pours His Spirit on His children, and they receive the power to obey God. Freedom is not being masterless; it is switching Lords, from yourself and the world to the one True God of the Universe.
2. Freedom to obey God is not limiting. We like to make Christianity into a cookie cutter, one size fits all thing. I think if we could, we would not only have Christian movies and TV shows, but Christian clothing, cookies, cell phones, sports, etc. Obeying God does not mean you have to quit skateboarding on the weekends and overcommit to every small group in your community (although you should totally start coming to mine on Wednesday nights). Freedom in Christ means in the things that you do, whether it’s eating, playing sports, playing COD, you’re doing it for God and producing the fruit of the Spirit (Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control). Enjoy your season of fun, but make sure you are being seasoned with salt (Matthew 5:13).
3. Freedom is not always fun. Obeying Christ changes the way I live more than it changes my interests. Being a Christian does not stop me from enjoying movies, camping, and kayaking, but it changes the way I behave and think while doing them. However, sometimes freedom in Christ is not fun but leads to suffering. Christians are called to love sacrificially. That means there are times that I must do the opposite of what I desire.
I recently read Richard Allen’s (the founder of the AME church) powerful biography. He epitomized these points in his life. During his time as a slave, he decided to work harder and decline his “master’s” offer of more breaks to go to church because he did not want perceived laziness to slander his Lord Jesus. He did not do what he wanted but did what he thought best glorified God. Richard Allen also did not need to Christianize his work for his master. He allowed his slave labor to be a light to his community. While my thoughts of justice scream, “rebel against their evil,” Richard Allen’s mind was on his Lord. So my question is, who do you think Richard Allen’s master really was? If Richard Allen could suffer as a slave in order to share the Gospel to his community, how much more should we be inspired to do the little things like spending time with the annoying kid, forgiving a bully, giving up our possessions? Looking at Richard Allen’s life makes me ponder, who have I been serving lately? God or success, popularity, myself?