A guy named Paul helped start most of the churches in the first years after the death and resurrection of Jesus. He would check back in with the churches from time to time by letter to encourage them or help clear up something that was going on. At a church in Corinth, things had begun to get a little sideways. People that were part of the church were sleeping around, and the church as a whole didn’t seem to have a big problem with it. So, Paul wrote a letter to the church (1 Corinthians) and explained the dangers of having sex with people you aren’t married to. He went on in the letter to talk about other things the church needed to know, and as he transitioned from his sex talk to talk about other things he threw out a general statement that served as an umbrella truth to cover all of the issues he was writing about. It was a simple phrase, but it has massive implications. The phrase was: you are not your own.
Paul painted pictures with his words to help his readers understand what it meant to follow Jesus. One of those images was of God buying us back out of slavery. We weren’t free before God came into our lives. Selfishness owned us. Our actions and thoughts were guided by what we wanted, when we wanted it. When God rescued us out of our me-centered life, He invited us into something significant and beautiful. He invited us to become rescuers alongside of Him. As we learn to trust that He really loves us and won’t ever stop, we can find the courage to love others. When that happens we are no longer our own. We don’t have to be our first concern, that’s God’s job now. We are free to be a part of the bigger story that our souls have been craving.
To be honest, I live big chunks of my life as if I am my own, wasting my time, words, and thoughts on things that aren’t beautiful. When I live as if I am my own, my decisions are usually about what makes me comfortable, or happy, or less bored. That creates a sort of life that can be comfortable at times, and even exciting at others, but in the end, it’s like playing on a rusty swing set when Disney World is open just across the street. A life that lives only for itself is a small life, and we were made for big things.