A teenager sneaks out of the house in the middle of the night. A wife continually nags her husband. A man explodes in anger because dinner is cold. A politician agrees to cover an indiscretion in exchange for a vote. A science professor blackballs a promising young PhD candidate for believing in God. A young girl dabbles in witchcraft to cast a spell on the classmate she despises. An aspiring supervisor spreads false rumors about the current boss. A church splits because of an argument over the color of the carpet. A couple of gang members drive through another gang’s turf spraying bullets in all directions. A drug lord brutally murders a leader from another cartel. Several terrorists bomb an elementary school filled with children….
The common denominator in each of these scenarios? They all involve efforts to dominate and control others. This struggle for power, inherent to the entire human race, is a third primary source of the conflict that continually mars our world. But it wasn’t meant to be this way!
God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth’” Genesis 1:27-28 (NASB).
Notice that man was given dominance over animal life, but not over other people. Everything changed when Adam & Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in an effort to be like God apart from God. Immediately conflict erupted; a blame game was soon followed with their eldest son murdering his younger brother. Domination and control.
In so many ways God can do what we humans cannot. God can be the center of the universe without becoming self-centered. God is able to receive massive amounts of glory and yet never be demeaning to others. God is the sovereign Lord of the universe, yet still gives humans the freedom to make individual choices. God reigns, but He doesn’t control. Mankind seeks to control, extinguishing freedom and creating conflict.
Someone might argue that, historically, religion has been used to oppress others—and I would wholeheartedly agree. But I would also be quick to note the marked difference between rule-based religion and New Covenant Christianity. Confusing the two never results in anything good!
I know that this flows totally against our natural way of thinking, but serving Jesus as the Lord of our lives is actually the path to true freedom. The “good news and great joy” of the Christmas Story is not just that of a Savior coming to Earth (as awesome as this is) but also of a Lord; a Lord of a very different character than those who use their position and authority to dominate and control those beneath them.
Ignore Christ or try to remove Him from Christmas? To a certain degree, God will allow us to. But we’ll be on our own as we reap the consequences of the resulting conflict!
Personally, I’m learning more and more to celebrate the lordship of Christ. The peace of His kingdom is of an entirely different nature than the forced peace that results from a domineering ruler squelching every voice of opposition. The peace of Christ brings wholeness and well-being, covering us with an umbrella of safety in the form of love-shaped freedom. Are you searching for peace? Willingly bend your knee to the Christ the Lord!
Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” Luke 2:10-11 (NASB).