Across the Pastor’s Desk: God gives us free will to follow

Published 8:00 pm Friday, July 21, 2023

Across the Pastor’s Desk by Jill Marin

Jill Marin

My friend, don’t drink the Kool-Aid. Christianity is based upon love, true love. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” — John 3:16.

Love is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22). Love is also what identifies us as Christians. Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” — John 13:34-35.

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Christianity is also based upon principles of self-control. Like love, self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:23). Self-control is a recurring theme throughout the Bible. “Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.” — Prov. 25:28.

God’s word says, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” — 2 Tim. 1:7.

God shows us a better way to live through love and self-control. However, this message is not often received in current culture, which has shifted to push an “anything goes” attitude for whatever appeals to the individual and whatever the individual feels is truth and love. Currently it seems as if anxiety and depression are running rampant, especially in our young people. Could it be they are losing hope because they are witnessing others doing whatever feels good, only to remain unhappy and unfulfilled? Young people need boundaries in order to feel secure and to know what to expect, otherwise confusion and chaos will reign supreme.

In today’s culture, some individuals are calling Christian principles “hate,” are aggressively attempting to cancel Christianity and Christians in the public discourse and are even flaunting sacrilegious mockery. And some Christians seem to be blindly following the loudest voices and freely jumping on this bandwagon. I ask you, if this was happening with other religions, would it be tolerated? I think not.

Christians are not to condemn other individuals, but we are to understand the times in which we live (Rom. 13:11-14). Standing strong and with self-control is necessary for our lives. God’s laws are higher than the laws of the land. At times laws of the land allow for what the word of God does not, including affairs and other sexual perversions, aborting life in the womb as a form of birth control, overindulgence in alcohol or chemicals, all the way to jealousy and lying. We cannot allow ourselves to conduct our lives at the base level of the law of the land. We must elevate our behaviors to God’s standard.

Have there been so-called Christians who have used God’s name to operate in hate? Yes. Have individuals been hurt in this process? Yes. Have there been errors made by Christians which have gone against God’s law? Yes.

These instances are not God’s fault, but the choice of human free-will. God gives us free will to follow his word. When we fall short, we can confess, change our ways and be forgiven. And forgiveness, my friend, brings us back to love.

Jill Marin is a pastor at Grace Christian Church.