I was again reminded this week how the "natural flow" of my life can be easily filled with deadlines, meetings, driving kids to sports, and collapsing on the couch exhausted at the end of the day. This is by no means unusual for anyone in our culture. So that's why living as a disciple of Jesus in community is so counter-cultural and challenging to implement.
The temptation will be to try and live this way on top of an already full life. That is doomed to fail. What we need is a way to keep reflecting on the assumptions and motivations that lie behind where we choose to invest our time, energy, and resources. Quite bluntly, this is exactly what Jesus was talking about when he said, "Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be."
Now before you think I'm going to lay down some heavy guilt trip, please stop right there. I am by no means standing here as someone who has figured all this out. But, God has given me the job of reflecting on what it means to be the church - a community of disciples of Jesus - in 21st century South Florida. Hopefully this will help us collectively find more freedom and become more like the people God created us to be.
Here's the truth: the natural flow of secular life is towards self-preservation and self-fulfillment. Ironically, the drive to achieve the "perfect life" results in - quite literally - death. Hell is the natural result of someone who has worshipped the idol of self to the point where the image of God is no longer reflected in their lives. For those who have not entrusted their lives to Jesus, eventually that reflection is destroyed. The prison of self destroys the very thing it was trying to preserve.
This is all, of course, very ironic. "Just let us be human!" is the rallying cry of those trying to live out the secular dream. "Just let us be free to do what we want!" But humans were made to reflect the glory of God! And you become like what you worship! So if you worship yourself you don't become more human, you become less human. Real humanity is becoming more like the Creator himself. Real freedom is found in worship of the Creator and living life as he always intended.
So we need to begin there. What we worship lays the foundation for becoming more or less human, more or less free.