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My Rights vs. the Cross

In America, I've been taught my whole life we have liberty. This wasn't clearly defined for me growing up. The older I get, the more people try and cloud the issue with non-essentials. Some suggest we have a right, for example, to an education, healthcare, dignity, and so many other things besides. I can agree with wanting those things, but I don't really see them as something I deserve. The Deceleration of Independence states "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Even within the bounds of the constitution, all of it comes down to these three: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Yet, when I look at the cross, I find myself deserving NO rights. Philippians 2 says:

Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus,

who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death— even to death on a cross. For this reason God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow— of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth— 11 and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Something far too many of us do is dwell on our "rights." Think about it. In America, we have many. What is more, we have things that we keep trying to add as a "basic human right," (though I don't know how a cell phone is in compared to the three inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness), while some around the world are lacking clean water, daily food, and more. We demand rights, because we feel entitled to some things, but really we're so poor and empty, we demand these rights because we're grasping on to things we feel are tangible. In comparison to the Cross, I have no rights. What do I do with my liberties? I enslave myself to non-essentials. I enslave myself to entertainment, to business, to lust, to greed, and to anything else I can get my greedy hands on. It is my pursuit of my rights that put Jesus on the Cross. My pursuit of my self leads me to death. Sin is far more than "doing what is wrong," it is open rebellion against my creator who gave me "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." When I choose what is best for me, what I typically do is choose to make decisions contrary to what God says. I choose to look at my Creator, who gave me Life, Liberty, and the ability to pursue Happiness and I say "I'm going to take my life, live how I want, and determine my own happiness, and I want to cut you out." The Cross, however, was the symbol of rebellion. It was to humiliate someone as they die, to provide an example for others. And Christ humiliated Himself, took my sin and my shame, and set the example I should follow. Compared to the Cross, my rights are null and void. Loved ones, let us, then, not focus on our "rights," but seek to pursue Jesus, to have the same attitude, as Paul says to the Philippians. Let us pick up our own crosses, and follow Him, that He may show the world what True freedom looks like. Footnotes:

  1. Philippians 2:6 Or to be grasped, or to be held on to

  2. Philippians 2:11 Gk kurios = Yahweh; Is 42:8 LXX

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