Cultural Lies #1

“The best lies always have a bit of truth in them.”

The whole idea of tackling these lies is two-fold:

  1. Become more aware of what lies I ascribe to – even in part – without really realizing it.
  2. Be equipped to speak more clearly with my “neighbors” with love and understanding.

It’s my Life; I’ll Live it My Way

Phrases that go along with this (some of them, I’ve said!):

  • You can do anything you set your mind to.
  • Follow your heart.
  • You’re the captain of your own ship.
  • I’ve got this.

This isn’t a new concept, and it goes all the way back to Eden. In America, the rise of capitalism, individualism, personal rights, “the sanctity of personal choice,” and pluralism all feed into and strengthen this lie.

My two new words from this lesson:

  • Mimesis: the world has order and meaning, and we humans are required to discover and conform ourselves to it
  • Poiesis: the world is raw materials from which human individuals create purpose and meaning

This lie is attractive because it feels good and secure to be in control. Our fundamental sin-filled selves are always seeking to be our own god (idolatry) – It’s my life and I’m in charge of it. People who rise above and succeed in forging their own path can be very inspiring too!

Optimistically, this lie leads to a safe and productive society where everyone works towards a common good. We’ve seen this sort of thing happen amidst large tragedies (like 9/11) or hardship (hurricanes/floods/etc).

Pessimistically, this lie leads to everyone’s paths competing and battling with each other. “My way or the highway.” Forging your own path often involves selfishness and pride. “I’ll do what’s best for me, and y’all are on your own.” Ultimately, this could lead to fractured communities.

When I came to Christianity; I realized that it did have a rule and order, but the chief aim of this rule and order was to let good and beautiful things run wild.

G.K. Chesterton

What does the Bible say?

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

Galatians 5:1

Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”

John 8:34-38

What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.

Romans 6:15-19

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 12:1-2

The Christian definition of freedom is a little different than the world’s definition. It’s better!

Freedom, then, is not the absence of limitations and constraints but it is finding the right ones, those that endure and liberate us.

Tim Keller

We are free because Christ has set us free.

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