Daily Devotion - Tuesday, February 16, 2016
"They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” - 2 Peter 2:19
I probably needed to give up Facebook for Lent. It would have been a good antidote to the poisonous habits I've developed with my phone. I am always on my phone. I am constantly texting, emailing or talking on my phone. When I'm not doing any of those three things, I am probably checking Facebook for messages, or posting something I am doing (Here's a random photo of some food I am about to eat!)
The other day I was with a bunch of pastors at a day-long workshop. Someone's phone vibrated on the table, indicating that they were getting texted or receiving an email. All of us--literally all of us reached for our own phones at that moment. I KNEW that it wasn't my phone that buzzed, and yet I reached for my phone because I've become programmed to do so every time I hear that buzzing sound.
Plus, I thought for a split second, "I KNOW that isn't me, but then again, I am not sure EXACTLY if it isn't me. WHAT IF it IS me and I didn't respond?"
The verse I highlighted above is from today's lectionary reading. It's part of a very long diatribe by the author of 2 Peter about the kind of person who is a false teacher or church leader. And by "false" I mean a teacher or leader who emphatically says they are a follower of Jesus, but then lives their life in a way that denies Christ.
This verse speaks into the heart of why they are the way they are. They are slaves to depravity and "people are slaves to whatever has mastered them." When something controls your thoughts, speech and actions--you could probably say that it has mastery over you. There are lots of us who struggle with things that hold mastery over us in one way or another.
For example, a person who is an alcoholic might say that they are clean and sober, but if they are still sneaking drinks and ending up hammered every night there is a disconnect. The booze still has control over them, they are a slave to it.
Or someone might say that they aren't addicted to their job, but if they work harder at getting ahead in their career than they do in their significant relationships, or their spiritual growth, they are essentially admitting that they are a slave to their job.
I could go on and on with things like pornography, prescription drugs, the acquisition of money and things and so much more. You probably get the picture by now.
It's the road to hell, not the path to freedom that is paved with good intentions. And by hell, I mean an existence that is devoid of hope, joy, love, light goodness and grace. You can have all the intentions in the world to shake off the slavery and bondage of those things that lead you to a hellish life, but until you actually begin to live differently, you will never be free.
May you find the courage to shake off the things that are enslaving you and keeping you from the freedom that you have in Christ. Jesus came so that you would have abundant life. May you feel the abundance of that life right here, right now. May you not only call yourself a follower of Jesus, may you joyfully find yourself stumbling after him as His true disciple. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.