We value our freedom. We will die for our freedom. We declare our autonomy. We have a deep desire to make our own decisions free from coercion. I can do what I want to do as long as it does not hurt anyone else we argue. Don’t tread on me. I live in the home of the brave and the land of the free. Don’t judge me. Don’t lay your moral code on me. I will judge for myself. I will follow my own sense of moral right. Only I can decide what is right for me.
I think our autonomy is God given. We are unique persons with our own characteristics, abilities, desires, needs, goals, etc. We are made in God’s image. We can reason. We have emotion. We recognize beauty. We desire to create. We sense moral good and evil. We love. We freely make decisions and act on them.
But something is terribly wrong with our exercise of autonomy. If when applying our autonomy to real life situations we abandon what is true about ourselves, then we have a serious problem. Examples abound. When a man decides that he is not male, but female, something is seriously wrong. When a society decides that certain human beings, Blacks, or Jews, or Catholics for example are in fact not human then something is seriously wrong. In the name of personal freedom we now turn the definition of marriage on it head to the point that it has no meaning left in it. In the name of personal freedom we say that a baby in the womb is nothing but tissue suitable for harvesting or careless disposal. In the name of autonomy we lower our borders to any who would come into this country, many, not all but many, bring evil intent with them including murder, rape, robbery, and terrorism. In the name of autonomy we are destroying the very fabric of society. I have a right is our rallying cry with anarchy only a breath away.
Man is free, but dependent. Man does not create, he derives. God has placed us in a universe that uniquely supports us. Plants grow and can be harvested to our benefit. Animals can be domesticated to provide nourishment, clothing, even companionship. Within the world God has created for us we are free to eat vegetables, or meat, or both. We can seek our own kind of labor and profit from it. We can breathe the air around us and drink the water that fills our rivers. We can go and come as our whims lead us. Yet in our freedom we depend on what God has provided at every moment of our lives. I am not free from God’s natural law. Gravity wins every time.
There is another dependence that we pay little attention to as we extol our autonomy. We are made in a way that makes us respond to an external spirit. Our human spirit responds to a spirit that is apart from ourselves. God designed us to respond to the Holy Spirit. In our exercise of freedom we were to have God guiding us by His Spirit. We were not made to be robots, but we were made to depend on God to show us what was good in our lives. In the Garden of Eden we decided to assert our autonomy and be like God. We would decide for ourselves what was good or evil for us. In that moment we abandoned our dependence on God’s Spirit and we allowed Satan’s spirit to have sway over our free choices.
What we see today is the consequence of that decision. We are dependent, derivative beings. We depend on spirit to guide us. That is how we are made. We will follow the leading of spirit. We cannot avoid this truth anymore than we can avoid the effects of gravity. What we see in the world is the product of an evil spirit influencing mankind.
Most of us don’t think about the impact of a spirit on our lives. The presence of that spirit is hardly perceived. We only recognize what spirit is guiding us by the fruit that it produces. At the root of the relativism that surrounds us man insists on his autonomy. This includes his absolute freedom from God. He turns his back on God in ways that are beyond rational. In doing so the father of lies places his intent in them and manifests evil through them.
The evidence for man’s need to return to his dependence on God is vividly clear. We are not facing simply political, moral, or ethical issues that a consensus will cure. There is no political solution for our present state. We are facing a spiritual issue that can only be addressed by dethroning Satan’s spirit and replacing him with God’s very presence, His guiding Spirit. In a word, mankind needs to be saved. He needs to be saved from his own autonomy, from his own self-serving living under Satan’s influence.
People need to know the power of the Cross and the Spirit that flows from it. There and only there rests our hope. Christ in you the hope of glory.