Real freedom

I’ve been a cultural christian. It’s a miserable life because it is all about worldly benefits in the here and now. It’s about what I think I deserve in this life based on my performance. It’s a modern blueprint for becoming a whitewashed tomb because it’s all about my glory and comfort.

I don’t want self-centered religion.

I don’t want politically labeled religion.

I don’t want to fight a culture war.

I don’t want a religion centered on an unbiblical notion of saving this country for my personal comfort.

The American church has embraced a national salvation by works by assuming the promises to Israel also apply to our nation. We have traded the kingdom of Jesus for kneeling at the alter of the United States. We wrapped our bibles in the American flag so tightly we believe whatever we are told it says by our pastors who seem to be living in the same fear we are of losing the culture war and therefore our “favored” status.

The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men. (Acts 17:10-12 ESV)

We have gotten so accustomed to parenting and preaching based on fear and shame that we’ve hidden grace as if it’s of little importance when grace is the whole point. Fear and shame do not bring about heart change. Only grace can change hearts.

Following Jesus Christ is not about going to church on Sunday, watching Fox News, listening to conservative/Christian talk radio, and listening to K-Love. It’s about serving. It’s about loving others as you are loved by the creator of the universe. It’s about telling others about the freedom found in Jesus which is so much greater and more beautiful than the American Dream. It’s about peace and joy in the midst of devastating illness, loss, and disappointments. It’s about knowing that we are treasured beyond comprehension and our lives have purpose and meaning by and for the glory of God.

It’s not about checklists and rules and appearances. It’s about Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. He kept all the rules. He paid the price. He alone gives us the only real freedom there is. Freedom from our self-centered natures. Freedom to love. Freedom to really live regardless of circumstances.

I don’t want to be a whitewashed tomb.

6 Responses to 'Real freedom'

  1. veronica says:

    I hear what you’re saying, but I need real life examples here. You write “It’s about serving. It’s about loving others.”

    But I can serve in a soup kitchen and still be a whitewashed tomb. I can give to charitable works and still be a WWT. I can do loving things toward others and still be a WWT.

    I need to know where the difference lies.

    p.s. I know where it lies (or at least have a good idea.) This is in response to your blog about becoming a writer. I’m hoping you’ll expand this idea and flesh it out more. ;)
    veronica recently posted..Writing Challenge – Promises to KeepMy Profile

    • DragonLady says:

      Hmm, yes. I see your point. The simple answer would be the motivation behind the works – to be noticed by other people or bring glory to God.

      There will be a follow up post. Good prompting! :)

  2. Alicia says:

    Beautifully written! This has been gnawing at my soul for a while now. It is wonderful to be able to read a post like this from other believers, when I am not able to write so eloquently. It is also a blessing to know that I am not alone in what I believe. I think a lot of “Christians” have the wrong idea of what salvation truly is and this is why The Lord warns us that few will enter His kingdom (Luke 13:23). Thank you Martha for sharing this post. It was much needed and a great encouragement.

    • DragonLady says:

      Thank you Alicia! It’s been bothering me for a while. I’ll see political-christian (little c on purpose) posts on Facebook all the time and it just gets all over me. It’s not that I’m not patriotic. I certainly wouldn’t do the work I do if I weren’t. I just no longer see the US as my permanent resident when I look at the scope of eternity. And my identity is found in Jesus Christ and Him alone through faith alone in grace alone. Romans 8:1 says Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. I have nothing to fear in this life because of Jesus. NOTHING! And because of that, I am free to love other sinners, just like Jesus loves me. It is his grace alone transforming me (much slower than I would like – haha) and I feel compelled to love without condition other people who don’t fit the Western conservative christian profile of “good people.” It’s risky and uncomfortable, but it’s not shallow and hollow.

      Love ya girl! :)

      • Alicia says:

        Agreed! I was just reading your post to Justin and we were discussing this. Oftentimes, our focus is shifted to this world and we can become stuck in this perspective. If our eyes are on Christ our thoughts and actions will become like His. What a honor to be able to love others like Christ. To be given the want to serve others. I see people who are constantly miserable because they are self-absorbed. If only they knew the freedom of serving others and putting their needs before their own. This shouldn’t come as a surprise though. The Word and what it teaches us is foreign to the unbeliever. I definitely believe that our lives can have such a positive impact on those around us. We just have to be willing to be a tool for God. My best friend would not be accepted by the western Christian, because she is a lesbian. If I was to agree with their viewpoint I would have lost the amazing friendship that we now share. I am able to love her freely and we learn so much from each other. I remember being taught in church to essentially fear college, because it could lead me away from my faith. It did the exact opposite. I was able to learn about others beliefs and why they believe that way. What an eye opener and time of growth. What freedom we have. Thank you again! Love you too!