Fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement; he is a rebel who must lay down his arms…. This process of surrender—this movement full speed astern—is what Christians call repentance. Now repentance is no fun at all. It is something much harder than merely eating humble pie. It means unlearning all the self-conceit and self-will that we have been training ourselves into for thousands of years. It means killing part of yourself, undergoing a kind of death.
~C. S. Lewis (1898-1963)
Preserve me, O God, for in You I take refuge. I say to the LORD, “You are My Lord; I have no good apart from You.” As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all My delight. The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on My lips. The LORD is My chosen portion and My cup; You hold My lot. The lines have fallen for Me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. I bless the LORD who gives Me counsel; in the night also My heart instructs Me. I have set the LORD always before Me; because He is at My right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore My heart is glad, and My whole being rejoices; My flesh also dwells secure. For You will not abandon My soul to Sheol, or let Your Holy One see corruption. You make known to Me the path of life; in Your presence There is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
~ Jesus, King of The Universe – and my Best Friend – Speaking to His Dad through David’s Miktam in Psalm 16
Oh beloved, it is true.
It is within a man to desire freedom. The problem for most of us, though, is that we have no idea the price that true freedom demands. In our easy-bake world of smartphones and online same-day delivery, we almost come to believe that the power to be free comes from our use of technology.
We believe that knowing things makes us wise.
We think that having things gives us security.
We hold it as self-evident that laws or a Constitution guarantee our freedoms.
We believe that having a choice will get us what we want.
We hope in the pile of money that we have, or are still trying to get.
We think our opinion is truth.
We hold that our work is virtuous on its own, and deserves reward from the world, and some have even dared say from G_d Himself.
And on it goes. We (including this fool of a writer) believe, think, hold, and hope in our own abilities. We seem to have the idea – deeply crammed into our psyche – that our freedom is the entire point.
It is not.
Our Freedom has not been won by us. We are not the center of the universe. We are not even the center of our own lives – even if we think we are. And any of us that have bought into this are living in Jodorowsky’s cage:
Birds born in a cage think flying is an illness.
Can we see it?
Let us try to peel our thoughts away from the selfish ego-drama which we have made center-stage in our lives. Let us, for a moment, consider the possibility that our lives are not really about us. OH YES, we are a main character in the play. But really, the biggest show in the universe is our Creator’s Theo-Drama.
Many of us, over the past few years have watched as many of our supposed heroes of the faith have shown themselves to be captives of their own desires. Oh yes, they talked beautifully about G_d. ABOUT Him…. But, do we really want to talk about G_d like He is not in the room? Our Preachers and Apologists have become the rock stars of our little ego-dramas. And, instead of calling us away into Joy, they joined us in our depravity.
Wait? I thought this post was about freedom! Now you want me to look at G_d? He is the One imposing the rules. He is telling me that I have to submit! How is that freedom?!?
Read the passage, beloved (Psalm 16). Both Peter and Paul let us know that this passage is actually about Jesus. And, it is not just about Jesus – it is Our Well-Beloved praying after He finish the work of kicking death in the teeth, and taking its keys. This psalm is the meditation of Jesus after He had become the sin we so were so desperate to be forgiven of, but so (sometimes) unwilling to escape.
Get this friends. The prayer of Psalm 16 is being prayed by a dead man.
Jesus found ultimate freedom and power in submitting to death, even death on a cross. But, as we read this, we are reading that while this man is a cadaver resting in a cave, He has actually become more fully alive than any human has ever been. Further, He is now freer (if that is possible for G_d) than ever before. And, through paying the price of death for all – it is the same death that now sets us free.
Don’t be too confused here. Freedom is actually very simple. It is just very hard to obtain. For in finding true freedom we must come to a place where we understand that freedom could never actually happen in some tiny little life of my own making. Jesus was right on the mark when He said, “What does it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, but loses his soul?” … In modern vernacular, Jesus would be saying: you want this world? Why? Sure, it has beauty and pleasure in it. But, beloved, I AM offering you the opportunity to be a free-man or free-woman of an eternal kingdom whose home base only begins in this world, but spans across the æons, and across all of creation; and where Righteousness, Peace, and Joy are the only rules.
But yes, the hard to obtain part. … Will you pay the price? Jesus showed us the way, and indeed has become our Way. But the way to this new life of freedom is found only in abandoning our own little ego-dramas and giving ourselves over to the Real Show, Whose main character is Our Savior, Lord, Husband, Captain, King and Dearest Friend: Jesus Christ.
Tonight is your night. Are you willing? Pay the price, and find that the lines fall for you in pleasant places too, when you see them from the other side of your death to your own self.
Written by Makala Doulos: Makala Doulos is a child of G_d, a husband to his wife, a father to his children, and a teacher to his students. But mostly, he is a prisoner set free by Jesus. Love has invaded his life, crushed it, and made it new. Now, G_d’s Love is what constrains him to live in full surrender to the freedom The Father and Son and Holy Spirit have bought for us all. Grace and Peace to you all.
Think About This: “Repentance is not self-regarding, but God-regarding. It is not self-loathing, but God-loving.” -Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen (1895-1979)