Thursday, January 24, 2008

Pleasure and Power

Doug O'Donnell who is on the pastoral staff at our church (College Church at Wheaton, IL) gave us a sermon a few months ago entitled 'Thankful to God, Living in the Light of Christ's Return'. A thought he shared with us then came from the movie 'Prince of Egypt' which depicts the Biblical Exodus from Egypt, the climactic scene of which features the Israelites crossing the Red Sea and breaking into a superficial song about "freedom at last". Doug proceeded to say that his Irish grandmother would have called it 'Musha' or Rubbish! For, he said, the Exodus was hardly about freedom in that sense. It was about servitude. You either serve the world/flesh/devil troika or you serve God. Servitude to God is indeed freedom in the truest sense, which is why the Apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 1 applauds the Thessalonicans for turning away idols to serve the living and true God.

The Bible uses terms like 'serve', 'work of faith' and labour to show a change of heart in believers towards receiving Jesus.

In my own life there are times when I sin and do not want to face God although it has been made very clear all through that my best response is to turn back to him. I see a similar tendency in our daughter Emma when she disobeys- the hardest thing is to say sorry and keep her accounts short, though we have done our best to help her do it. Why does this happen? I suspect it's because we want to call our soul our own. The rebellion at Eden took place not because Adam and Eve wanted to switch their loyalties from God to the Troika of Evil mentioned earlier, but because they wanted to strike out on their own. And alas, as every human being knows, there is no such thing as striking out on one's own. Sin brings guilt, shame, rebellion, a hardened heart and enslavement. Argue as we might that it is all a conditioning of the mind, the most determined among us cannot break free from the compelling thought that objective morals exist and that something in us demands that we acknowledge and comply.

Ravi Zacharias once said when man becomes the measure of all things, we either slip into megalomania or erotomania- the love of power or the love of pleasure. He also mentioned that when man becomes the measure of all things, it will not be a generic Mankind, but a certain man- Hugh Hefner or Adolf Hitler. Our nature is to thirst for freedom but to work towards autonomy and then discover that autonomy is not really freedom at all. Truly, a certain Man is indeed the measure of all things- Jesus Christ, to whom we must all some day bow our knees and confess His name as Lord.

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