Today’s society keeps things interesting for Christians, particularly those who have immersed themselves in Western culture. Life has become about the pursuit of wealth and the amount of consumption that is possible because of it. We work more hours to earn more money to buy more things. Most of the time, we aren’t even able to take the time or space to enjoy the things because we are stuck in a vicious cycle.
Our existence in this world, the time, and space that we consume is often measured by the amount we gain and contribute. For the non-believer, this measurement is taken in dollars and cents, notoriety and fame. The more you accumulated, the better your existence must have been. The less you accumulated, well you get the point. The world has measurements for everything, even life. This leaves us with the desire to pursue the things which the world measures us by.
As children, we pursue autonomy because the world praises the individual. We seek to be noticed for the accomplishments of one, not wanting to share the spotlight. As we grow older, we pursue victory because the world never remembers the one who came in second place. We strive to separate ourselves from the pack, especially those who are seen as weaker, inferior or less than. As adults, we pursue wealth because wealth enables us to consume the things we believe will make us happy. To the world, wealth solves all problems.
We pursue because society expects us to; it’s the nature of this fallen world. We seek to be counted as the best, the first and the only — trying to live up to other people’s expectations. Where is the liberty in that?
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2
It seems almost contradictory; we pursue liberty within the confines of the standards imposed by the world. We change who we are, ignore who we were called to be just to fit in. We take the road more traveled instead of the road that leads to eternity. That is not liberty, in fact, that is bondage. We are bound to the workplace because we want more money. We are bound to the money because we more stuff. We are bound to the stuff because we more recognition. We are bound to the world.
True liberty, however, comes when we allow the Spirit of the Lord to take residence in our life. When we allow God to rule freely, and we surrender to his perfect will. As we dwell in the presence of His Spirit, we will begin to feel the shackles of the world’s expectation loosened. We will be free to live the life he designed for us. This liberty cannot be purchased, but it is free to all who are willing to accept it.
“For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom,” 2 Corinthians 3:17
So what will you pursue? Will you pursue the things of this world; the desires of the flesh that lead to bondage? Or, will you pursue true liberty, the freedom that can only come from a life with God? Pursue joy, which comes from knowing that God has already worked things out for you. Pursue peace, the peace that passes all understanding. Pursue love, a love so great that it is self-sacrificing. Pursue the things of God, the people, places and things that align with his will for your life. Have faith in his plan, understanding that he desires for you to have the desires of your heart. Know that when you pursue God, you are never going in the wrong direction.
He has given us life, and when we obey him, it is abundant. He will give us liberty when we dwell in the presence of His spirit. The life we live is determined by the things we pursue. What will you pursue?
“For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,” Titus 3:3-5