This is my first blog entry for the Christian Post (CP). I have previously blogged at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary’s alumni blog “Every Thought Captive”. You can see those archived at Every Thought Captive’s archive.
I thought I would start this new blog with a reflection on the notion of “freedom” which can serve as an introduction to my approach to “Sex, Love, and the Whole Christian.” Sounds boring, perhaps, but bear with me and you will see why this matters.
“Freedom” is a cherished concept in America. Our founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, place a high value on freedom. Notably, in the Declaration of Independence, the authors emphasized “freedom to” - freedom to pursue what we valued. In our contemporary culture, freedom has become “freedom from,” or what used to be called licentiousness. The emphasis now is on each person being free from constraints to do whatever they desire. Usually, there is the caveat that whatever we do, we should not infringe on others’ freedom or welfare. This would suggest that freedom and law (which constrains our choices) would be in opposition to one another. I think this is misleading.
True freedom comes only in the context of embracing obedience to God’s law. Did you react to that statement? I imagine that this is a surprising, if not shocking, idea. However, consider this: Human beings tried for hundreds of years to figure out how to fly like birds. For hundreds of years, we failed to fly. It was only after we discovered and obeyed the laws of aerodynamics that we became free to fly all over the planet. Today, you or I can hop a plane and fly to China or London or Cape Town because we are free to fly (for the price of an airline ticket, of course) because we discovered and obeyed the laws of aerodynamics. We want our airplane builders, mechanics and pilots to obey those laws, because if they do not, if they decide they should be free from the constraints of these laws, it will be at the cost of our lives!
This freedom in obedience is true in other areas of our lives as well. How do we develop our fullest potential? By obeying our Creator’s plan for our lives. When we do this, we are free to have full, satisfying lives. Disobedience leads to dissatisfaction, distress and disappointment. For example, it has become exceedingly common for couples to live together before marriage. This is often rationalized as “we need to see if we are compatible.” God says we should not live together before marriage. Turns out, God is right: high quality research has shown over and over again that living together before marriage increases the risk of divorce, affairs, domestic violence, etc. So in this case, if you follow God’s instructions, you are less likely to experience these outcomes.
That, in a nutshell, is my approach. Whenever I am confronted with a decision to make about how I will live, I ask “What is God’s intention?” I turn to the Bible, God’s little flight manual, and I see what God has to say on the subject. If it is not addressed directly, I look for the principles God has provided that are relevant to the question. And then I am free to live my life to its fullest potential, and that is very satisfying indeed.