In this modern society of ours, satisfying one’s personal needs often takes priority over the things that really matter. Jesus said in Luke 9:23-25, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for you to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit your very self.” Our Lord expects that we deny ourselves in order to be His disciples. We must be obedient and totally dedicated to serving our Lord in our daily lives. How does one accomplish this daunting task in this modern, self serving world in which one can meet their every desire by the mere touch of a button? Philippians 2:5-8, “have the same attitude of mind Christ Jesus had: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a human being, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross!” Even though Christ was one with God and fully God Himself, he subjected Himself to serve others in humility. Christ did not use His authority to assume earthly privilege or take any advantage that should be granted to Him as fully God.
When we place Christ first in our lives, we will live our lives to please our Lord and Savior. Earthly desires will no longer hold us hostage. Romans 8:5-8, “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. 6 The mind controlled by the sinful nature is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The sinful mind is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.” Our selfish desires are the sinful nature described by Paul. Our innermost selfish, sinful being is easily tempted to fulfill our own desires and neglect our Lord. Placing our own needs and desires before our Lord leads to disobedience and resentment and will only serve to make us unacceptable to God.
Which nature is served by the crusade for “full inclusion” and acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle by the ELCA? Is the Spirit leading the ELCA to use their bound conscience to reinterpret Scripture? Romans 8:12-13, “Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation – but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.” Paul explains that we are obliged to live according to the Spirit and if we surrender to the Spirit, worldly desires will wane in their importance, and we will delight in following God’s law. If we fail to follow the Spirit, we will fall into sin and turn away from our Savior. We gladly submit ourselves to God’s law because we obey out of our love for Him. Simply obeying God’s law will not, in and of itself, bring us to salvation, but God provides us with our moral and ethical boundaries in His law.
This life on this world is not about us, it is all about our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. When we finally surrender to the Lord and give our lives to Him, only then will we begin to truly live. Our sexual identities, occupations, and all the other worldly things will start to take their proper place in our lives, as secondary to our faith in our Lord, who took our sin and died for us, rose and defeated death so that we may live, forever with our Father in Heaven.