Tuesday, 15 February 2011

You Have the Right to Have No Rights

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons
“In this way no one will go to their grave with their music still in them.” (unknown)

When I first heard that quote, I remember thinking, that is really quite profound. I thought about that in terms of "rights." Everyone seems to be big on having their rights met. Could it be that when we adamantly insist on having our rights that we place ourselves in danger of going to our graves with our music still in us? Is not our music, however we define that, something that is really not our own at all, but rather something given to us for the sole purpose that we give it (or spend it) on others?
Do I really have personal rights? 
Contrary to what many may think, and spiritually speaking, NO, I do not have personal rights. Paul says in Romans 14:7, “For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself” (ESV). What does this mean? I am beginning to see that what this really means is that we are each spiritually responsible before God for one another. I am also beginning to wonder if concern for personal rights isn't really actually really quite "anti-Christ" in the sense that it is so unlike my Lord's example.
It is all about how I might bless someone else.
As true Christians, as opposed to those that I've begun to call pseudo-Christians, we have a responsibility for other people. Are we our brothers keeper (Genesis 4:9)? Most certainly, YES! I think it's time that we start to focus on the fact that it is not about me and my rights at all. It is not about what I can get, or what is owed me, but rather it's about what I can give. It's all about how I might bless someone else, in the name of Jesus, regardless what it costs me personally. It's all about walking in humility as Jesus did (Philippians 2: 5-11). Certainly He, of all people, had all sorts of rights. But He gave them up for us, and I believe that, if we call ourselves Christians, then that means that we must go and do likewise. What I'm trying to say is, we have no right to claim any personal rights.
Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons

When we allow anything or anybody to get in the way of our devoted walk with the Lord, then everyone around us suffers for it. Just as in a marriage relationship a woman's body is not hers alone but belongs equally to her husband, and a husband's body doesn't belong to him alone but also belongs equally to his wife (1 Corinthians 7:4), so too spiritually speaking, we members of Christ's body do not belong only to ourselves but also belong equally to all other members of Christ's body.

I am not talking about the non-believers, for as Paul also asks in 2 Corinthians 6: 14-18, what does the believer have in common with the unbeliever? The answer is, nothing! While the context here has to do primarily with marriage between the unbeliever and the believer, the principle also applies equally to deep relationships between the Christian and the non-Christian. In the passage Paul actually goes further yet and says to come out from among the unbelievers and to be separate (holy).

As born again believers, we are all gifted by the Lord in one way or another. Everyone has something (1 Corinthians 14:26) to use for the benefit of others. We do not belong to ourselves alone. If God put a song in my heart, He didn't do so that I might keep it all to myself. He did it so that you and I might use it for the benefit of others. Your responsibility is to joyfully spend yourself on ministering to me just as much as my responsibility is to joyfully spend myself on ministering to you. That's what the body does; each part works for the benefit of all the other parts.

Do you and I have personal rights? In the Lord, we only have the right to give up our rights and to live for others and not to ourselves.

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