A welcome to the new year from Rich Dixon


face of an old clock

I’m not big on resolutions.

Not sure you and I need to pile on another set of expectations just because the calendar happens to flip from December to January. But it’s a fact that whatever was happening yesterday (or last year) will continue, unless we do something about it.

And there’s the key – unless we do something about it.

So I smiled when a friend recently complained, “They’re coming after my freedom.” Moving past the social media silliness of wondering who “they” might be, his comment got me thinking about the nature of authentic freedom.

Culture tries to convince us we’re its victims and we must react to its circumstances, The Apostle Paul says we can make a different choice.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

He’s talking, I think, about slavery to the culture. He’s talking about slavery to the political ideologies, religious structures, and nationalistic convictions so pervasive that we take them for granted. He’s talking about slavery to self-righteousness, to winning and demanding our rights.

He’s talking about slavery to culture, to the rules and expectations that wrap us like a blanket of fog from which there’s no escape.

Jesus set us free from that sort of slavery. We’re free, instead, to choose gratitude, service, and sacrifice.

We’re free to turn our efforts toward God’s values of justice for the oppressed, the poor, and the marginalized.

Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.

Maybe Jesus wants us to step into a new year filled with opportunities to seek justice, to live out and share the freedom we have as followers of Jesus.