And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him [Jesus] until an opportune time (Luke 4:13).
Reflecting on the three temptations faced by Jesus in the desert (Luke 4:1-13), we noted that Jesus refused to be man’s God and God’s man by making happiness, power, or even religion his purpose in life. Instead he showed us that freedom is the meaning of God’s life and of ours in response to God.
Happiness is the contentment that comes from living in comfort and avoiding discomfort. In contrast, freedom is the willingness to risk losing our comfortable circumstances, or even to embrace suffering we could otherwise easily avoid, to continue our walk with Jesus.
Power is the ability to control others. In contrast, freedom is the commitment to free others and especially to be free for others.
Religion starts with the belief that we can and must set ourselves right with God. It continues with the understanding that, once we have set ourselves right with God, God then owes us answers to prayers in this life and Heaven in the next. In contrast, freedom acknowledges that God is sovereign, or free, in relation to us and all else. He therefore cannot be constrained—let alone coerced—by anything we, anyone, or anything else can do. Freedom additionally acknowledges that we have already been set right with God but that our righteousness was something accomplished by God alone with no help or cooperation from us.
As misfits, then, we find meaning in life by witnessing to the freedom that is ours in Christ. We do this by living a cavalier attitude toward being comfortable, powerful, or religious.
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