The issues concerning Americans are gas prices, the economy, bills, abortion, guns, and COVID-19, in that order.
Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, said “most Americans are blaming Washington for their current pain.”
I would suggest that America is on the wrong track because the world in general is on the wrong track. Many people are on the wrong track because their worldview is on the wrong track.
We blame our problems on other people, politicians, societal injustices, or natural limitations. Yet, our real problems are much deeper. They go beyond current circumstances, political policies, cultural inequality, economic inequity, or arbitrary restraints.
Our actual challenges both individually and collectively are spiritual and moral.
Among the apostle Paul’s predictions of the perilous “last days,” is that people would be “lovers of pleasure, rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Tim. 3:4-5).
We are an individualistic, self-seeking, pleasure-driven society. Many seek self-fulfillment. Demand their rights. And pursue whatever pleases them at the moment. While not confined to the issue of abortion, its attitude is well expressed in these slogans recently seen in protest marches.
- “A woman’s right to choose.”
- “Keep your laws off my body.”
- “I am the boss of my body.”
- “My body. My choice.”
While these slogans are identified with the pro-abortion movement, they reveal a spirit demonstrated in many other moral, ethical, and real-life issues. It exposes an attitude that “it’s all about me.” It’s reflected in what a NY Times writer, David Brooks, called “extreme moral individualism.” It says, “I must live for myself.” “Be true to yourself.” And live your “own truth.”
Christ-followers must reject that philosophy in light of Jesus’ call to those who would be his disciples. “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it” (Lk. 9:23-24).
To express it another way, “Do you belong to God, or belong to yourself?”
Paul offered that choice in his treatise in 1 Corinthians 6 as he condemned the rampant sexual immorality in the corrupt Greco-Roman culture. He commanded them and us by implication and application to “flee sexual immorality.” He then asked this question and offered this divine imperative.
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
“You are not your own” flies in the face of the humanistic worldview. It sounds ridiculous. Absurd. And, yes, even demeaning. Yet, it is our challenge and our daily struggle. Will we belong to God? Or will we belong to ourselves?
Author and professor, Alan Noble was right when he wrote, “This is the fundamental lie of modernity: that we are our own.” Then he offers this insight.
“Belonging to God sets limits on our lives. Sometimes they are hard limits to bear. It is not easy to stand before God, even with grace. Moment by moment we must set aside our sinful desires, even the ones closest to our heart, to live sacrificially. I do not want to lie to you. This is a difficult life.”
Limits go against our fleshly inclination. We want our freedom. Yet the Bible paradoxically teaches us that is not truly free until we become a servant of righteousness and a slave of God (Rom. 6:18-22).
It ought to be apparent, that belonging to ourselves does not and has not worked. It produces frustration, anger, disappointment, and depression. Like the Old Testament period of the Judges when everyone does “what is right in their own eyes,” it leads to confusion, chaos, and eventually cultural collapse.
Belonging to God produces the fruit of righteousness. Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. And self-control.
To whom will you belong? Self? Or God?
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman