As I look at the body of Christ today, something really concerns me and it is the way we Christians are living our lives like we own ourselves. It’s all about our agendas, our plans, our dreams, etc. So permit me to ask a question.
Who owns you?
To own: to have or hold as one’s own; possess
To possess: to have as belonging to one; have as property; own
For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6:20, KJV)
Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body. (MSG)
While the context in which this verse came up was the issue of sexual purity, what it shows us is that our body (the container) and spirit (the real us that is eternal because it came from an eternal Source) belong to God – are the property of God. There are essentially two grounds on which God owns us – He created us and when Adam sinned and caused us to become legally captive to the kingdom of darkness, He bought us at the cost of the blood of His only begotten Son, Jesus.
Why does the concept of God’s ownership of us seem difficult to fully accept and play out in our everyday lives?
1. Free will
It appears to me that the dilemma we find ourselves in is as a result of the free will that God has given us. He has given us the right to choose and the responsibility for the consequences of our choices.
Human beings can choose to believe Jesus is the Son of God and Saviour of all mankind and to put their trust in Him by faith, worshipping God in the manner He has prescribed through Jesus. Or we can choose to disbelieve this truth and worship whatever we want – money, fame, other human beings, ourselves (a matter for another blog), or even decide we can worship God in our own prescribed manner.
Human beings can choose between life and death and indeed do make these choices constantly in our daily lives howbeit not recognizing that this is what our choices very often boil down to. This can be seen in these verses:
“Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.” (Galatians 6:7-8, NLT)
“Sinful nature” can be seen as “flesh” in several translations. So when our choices are made to satisfy the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes or the pride of life (1 John 2:16), we are choosing death. It doesn’t seem that far-fetched now, does it?
2. Our view of ourselves
If we look at the story of Lucifer, we cannot deny that this angel of light was indeed created magnificently and had so much going for him. Yet the grave error he made was viewing himself as more than what he was – a created being. For no matter what we have apparently going for us on this Earth, we still remain jars of clay containing spirits that came from a Source – God. One day, the outer casing of cells, tissues, organs and systems will degenerate back to soil and the spirit will report back to its Source and give an account of the time spent on this Earth.
So why do we have such an inflated view of ourselves? Why do we think we are so intelligent that we know everything about everything? Yet we don’t know what will happen the very next second. No wonder James wrote this:
“Come now, you who say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a city and spend a year there and carry on our business and make money. Yet you do not know [the least thing] about what may happen tomorrow. What is the nature of your life? You are [really] but a wisp of vapor (a puff of smoke, a mist) that is visible for a little while and then disappears [into thin air]. You ought instead to say, If the Lord is willing, we shall live and we shall do this or that [thing].” (James 4:13-15, AMPC)
Perhaps we need to be reminded that we are really nothing but given value only because God places a value on us and loves us.
“As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.”
(Psalm 103:13-16, NIV)
“For, ‘All people are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,’”
(1 Peter 1:24, NIV)
I would suggest that a healthy view of ourselves (especially relative to God) should be like the psalmist exclaimed:
“I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous,
your handmade sky-jewelry,
Moon and stars mounted in their settings.
Then I look at my micro-self and wonder,
Why do you bother with us?
Why take a second look our way?”
(Psalm 8:3-4, MSG)
3. Our view of God
It might be that the reason we have an inflated view of ourselves is because our view of God is warped [bent, twisted out of shape]. Somehow, we have come to view God similar to Aladin’s genie in the lamp, existing to do our bidding and make us happy, healthy and wealthy. He has become the cosmic Santa Claus or Father Christmas in the sky who we try to do certain things for to be tagged as ‘nice’ and given gifts (blessings).
We really need to read the Old Testament to get a proper perspective of this Almighty God that we say we worship. He is a gracious, loving God and has always been (just see how He was with the Israelites) but He is God and has His own will, His plans and agenda for the Earth and for every individual on this Earth.
Back to the question of ownership….
If you have a healthy view of God and of yourself, why not use your free will to choose His will and His plans for your life? Knowing you are His possession created to please Him and to do His will (Revelation 4:11), how does this knowledge impact the choices you make every day and the focus of your life?