1 John 2:15-17 (NKJV)
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.
17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
Recently, I read a book that I enjoyed (Rediscover Catholicism by Matthew Kelly) in which the author identified three major philosophies upon which we have constructed our modern culture. These three philosophies equate to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, and unfortunately, these philosophies rob people of personal freedom, ruin families, and destroy nations. These three philosophies will inhibit your personal freedom. Here are the three philosophies that will destroy individuals, families, and nations:
1. Hedonism (the lust of the flesh)
The motto of the hedonist is, “If it feels good, do it!” Wherever hedonism has emerged as a dominant philosophy in other cultures, it produced men and women who were lazy, lustful, and gluttonous. Hedonism leads to the demise of every culture that practices it. Hedonism is not an expression of freedom; it is a passport to enslavement by a thousand different cravings and addictions. And in the end, it produces not pleasure, but despair.
2. Individualism (the lust of the eyes)
The motto of the individualist is, “What’s in it for me?” This philosophy has been reinforced by social and political special interest groups that exalt the rights of the individual with no regard for right and wrong, and often to the detriment of society as a whole. A perfect example of this is when the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance are challenged because one person finds it offensive. The fruits of individualism include greed, selfishness, and exploitation.
3. Minimalism (the pride of life)
The motto of the minimalist is, “What’s the least I can do?” The minimalist is always seeking to exert the minimum effort and receive the maximum reward. Consciously or subconsciously, people everywhere seem to be asking, “What’s the least I can do and still keep my job?” “What’s the least I can do and still get reasonable grades in school?” “What’s the least I can do and still keep my marriage alive?” “What’s the least I can do and still stay physically fit?” “What’s the least I can do and still…?” Minimalism is the enemy of excellence and father of mediocrity.
Hedonism, individualism, and minimalism encourage us to do whatever we want, wherever we want, whenever we want. Unfortunately, hedonism, individualism, and minimalism will destroy every individual and community that practices them.
Personal freedom includes asking and answering the one question that has preoccupied humanity from the beginning of recorded time, and that question is: What’s the best way to live? The answer to that question is the key to personal freedom.
One of the ways God displayed His love for us is by giving us the freedom to choose. However, even though God has given us the freedom to choose, the wise choice is to follow God’s will, which is the opposite of hedonism, individualism, and minimalism. Question: What’s the best way to live? Answer: Follow God’s will. The discipline of following God’s will is the key to personal freedom, which leads to strong families, which leads to a strong nation.
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