Galatians 5:13 (NLT)
For you have been called to live in freedom-not freedom to satisfy your sinful nature, but freedom to serve one another in love.
Recently at an African market, some tribal traders found much more than they bargained for!
In Nigeria, the Ambassadors for Christ International team works to bring the Gospel to different parts of their nation. Most recently, they recognised the potential of a big market where 3 tribes come together to sell their wares: the Fulani (herders) who sell their cows and cheese; the Ibaribas (farmers) who sell yams, melons, and yam flour; and the Yoruba (traders from the south) who bring useful tools like hoes, forks, machetes, bush lamps, and torch lights.
The team organised evangelistic meetings in the evenings, using 12 kerosene bush lamps hanging on posts for light. The village chief and 3 council members attended, as well as many adherents of traditional religions. Many of those who heard the messages on "The Spirit of Truth and the Spirit of Error" were convinced of the truth of Jesus Christ and surrendered their lives to Him. Some of them burned their amulets and idols as a sign that they completely abandoned them.
One of the new believers summed up his experience: "Religion kills and keeps people in bondage, but Christ brings life and freedom...indeed."
What is freedom? Options. Choices. The responsibility of deciding for ourselves. One way to describe poverty is lack of options or choices. When we can choose, we are free. Religions promise ways to keep the gods favourably disposed toward their adherents. Christ gives us the freedom to live in His love and favour, to make choices to glorify Him with our time, energy, talents, and resources.
In secular societies, instead of amulets and idols to burn, there are more subtle gods to abandon like moral relativism (all opinions are equally valid), consumerism (obsession with acquiring possessions), and conformity to social expectations. As believers in Christ, we all need to keep watching for the influence of non-godly patterns of thought and action. Will you ask the Lord if your priorities are the same as His and be willing to abandon what does not lead to freedom in Christ?
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