Can Freedom Make Us Slaves to Sin?

Let’s start this post off with a quick experiment. Go check your Instagram or Twitter feed. What’s the ratio of pictures of alcohol posted by Christians to Non-Christians? If you’re like me, then it’s probably about even. So with that in mind, let’s take a quick survey of the alcohol-embracing discussions in the Christian community.

Brett McCracken has a really thought-provoking post over at Mere Orthodoxy about Christians’ relationship with alcohol. I found the article intriguing because I’ve often thought about what level of influence I would let alcohol have on my life.

My story

I did not have a drop of alcohol until my 21st birthday, and even that was quite reluctantly. Growing up one of the few things I knew about my paternal grandfather, besides the fact that he abandoned my grandmother with 5 kids, was that he was an alcoholic. This made me really embrace an anti-alcohol stance from a fairly early age.[^beermug] I also do not remember seeing my dad have a drink until I was 22, and that was a beer in Germany, where buying a beer was cheaper than buying a pop (he is Dutch after all).

I regularly hear Christians quote Luther about drink as if Luther, as if Luther was infallible. Don’t get me wrong, I too, enjoy having an occasional adult beverage. But I think there has been far too much public embrace of alcohol by my generation.

Brett posed 4 questions in the article that I think we all should consider:

  • Is alcohol a “nice to have” or a “must-have”?
  • Are we mindful of those around us, and if they struggle with alcohol in any way are we willing to abstain for their sake?
  • Do we wear our freedom as a badge of honor, as “proof” that we are under grace and thus can drink and party to our heart’s content?
  • Do we have a serious-enough understanding of how dangerous alcohol can be?

Galatians 5:1

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

So here’s what I’ve been thinking about:

At what point are spending too much time and energy thinking and posting about earthly things compared to heavenly things? Is it possible to become a slave to “freedom”? At what point can freedom to enjoy something become slavery to enjoying something?

I’ve made a list of some questions I’ve been asking myself:

  • Do the contents of my posts social media show that I treasure Christ above all things?
  • If someone who didn’t know me read my feeds, absent any other information about me, would they see that I am looking to Christ alone for my hope and salvation?
  • More specifically: am I engaging more on posts about alcohol, food, sunrises, sunsets, fashion, home decor, or even cute kids, than on posts about the good news that Christ came to save sinners by taking on the wrath poured out against us?

May we leap for joy, in our souls, in our digital lives, and in our conversations with those who are perishing when we recall the truth of the Gospel.

What’s your ratio of posts about drink, food, technology, home decor, or really anything compared to the posts about Christ, the Gospel, and our hope?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.


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