Oppression: There are forces at work in this world that covertly and overtly look to entrap the masses into a life of debt. It might not be obvious, but when you examine the patterns it becomes evident. Take for example the debt society created to ensnare millions into a cycle of excessive consumption. People have become so accustomed to a certain lifestyle in the western world that they are willing to pay dearly for it. Meaning, many take on debt to maintain a standard of living. Most do this while ignoring the fact that they are sacrificing most of their life in this cycle. The average credit card debt of most Americans is more than $6,000…and this is just credit card debt. There are mortgages, car loans, college loans, and business loans that dwarf the credit card average. The bottom line is that most people are trapped in a cycle of debt, and with this debt comes the obligation to pay back what is owed. This is the way of the world. The world only values the things which are seen and felt in this life, but God’s ways are different. Jesus echoes this thought when He gave this eloquent response about a Roman tax. “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.” — Matthew 21:22. Jesus operated with a different outlook. He wasn’t teaching people about how to prosper financially in this life, but rather to look for the kingdom to come. Moreover, the warnings given by Jesus about focusing on earthly possessions are stern and clear. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; or where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. “But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” — Matthew 6:19–24. “Then He said to them, ‘Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.’” — Luke 12:15. Yet, even with the warnings given by Jesus, it’s easy for many to be entrapped into this cycle of endless gathering. The enemy knows how important money is and uses it as a tool of distraction. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t care about your finances or forsake the financial system because they can be used wisely. However, if the love of money becomes your obsession you will be gravely disappointed when you stand before God. The devil also finds the monetary system so powerful that he will ultimately use it to force the masses to obey the beast system during the end times. “And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.” — Revelation 13: 17–18. In essence, denial to receive the mark of the beast will result in forfeiture of access to the financial system. Not only will it restrict the buying or selling to those who do not receive the mark, but it will later cost the lives of those who continue to resist. Some people might say that this end times teaching is too alarmist and could never happen in a democracy, but one must only look at the events of the last two years and realize how quickly the world can change. The reality is…the way of life most people are accustomed to is far easier to put to an end than one might think. Therefore, it would be wise to consider the treasures of heaven rather than the treasures of the earth.
Free Indeed: When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior we are born again. Not into bondage, but into freedom. Freedom from sin and death. He washes us clean and we walk in the light. “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” — John 8:36. “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” — 2 Corinthians 3:17. Freedom from the grip of sin and death is a powerful thing. His mercy and love for us are beyond all measure and we praise His Holy name. So, considering how we have been rescued from the curse of this world and promised a better one to come; shouldn’t we carry a different outlook on life? How should one conduct themselves? Firstly, we should consider ourselves sojourners, passing through this world looking to the eternal one to come. Second, we should conduct ourselves with honor and not use our freedom in vain. “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.” — Galatians 5:13–17. No doubt there will be temptations to slip back into the old ways, but remember who you are and what is ahead. Life on this earth is fleeting; it pales in comparison to the glory of God, so consider yourself in the world, but not of it. Walk the narrow path and live with honor and gratitude unto Him. “Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.” — Hebrews 12:28. Remember you are free in Him. This is not your home, you are going to a far better place.
Freedom in Simplicity: There is something refreshing in simplicity. With simplicity, your options are always open and you can flow as the Spirit leads. Many great men of the Bible lived very simple lives. The Apostle Paul stated, “For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.” — 1 Timothy 6:7. Paul was dedicated to a way of life that cut away all distractions. It’s a great reminder for us as Christians to take a step back from our busy lives and think about what we are running towards. In order to be free, we must first know what is holding us down. By simplifying our lives we can strip away trivial affairs and free ourselves in so many ways. Your time and your life are yours to decide what to do with them. The more simplistic the way, the more freedom you will find. God is not a God of complication and confusion. His message is simple and pure. Strip away the distractions and walk humbly with Him. “Let your eyes look directly ahead And let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. Watch the path of your feet And all your ways will be established. Do not turn to the right nor to the left; Turn your foot from evil.” — Proverbs 4:25–27.