From a fleshly standpoint, I don't like the idea of being owned. Popular adolescent literature belabors this point until it has become almost cliche. Part of it is cultural. I'm American. I make my own choices. I work my own way. I can be a self-made woman (so the lie goes). I think there's a bit of merit in a measure of individuality. But not the way I worship it sometimes. Not to the degree my generation has set it up for idolatry.
My brother cut his hand pretty badly a few weeks ago and I had to rush him to urgent care. When we got there, I found myself in the waiting room where the Disney channel was blaring so loudly I could hardly think. So, I settled in for a few hours of analyzing. The lie of individualism was being paraded across the screen. Self-absorption wasn't just allowed, but encouraged. "I have to do what's best for me." And "popularity...is about being with people who make you feel happy!" There's always room, of course, for some sort of romantic attachment as long as it's on your terms, with all perks and no commitment. And family is important as long as you get to define it however you want. Nothing about submitting to what God gave you and where He put you and learning to love the family you have. All of that takes work and it doesn't always feel good. So naturally those sort of decisions aren't "right."
I'm not sure if the Church buys into these lies sometimes. I think we're prone to it. But as far as I can tell (and I am no authority on the subject by any means) there appears to be a trend with local churches emphasizing community and fellowship. That's exciting. Because anytime I'm with brothers and sisters I start to get outside myself. The Lord starts using the Word through those people to show me where I have serious sin issues. And to encourage me to live in the gospel. And I start to get burdened to pray for those people. I start wanting to give up time and energy and stuff for those people...digging into the dirt of their lives and being a force of encouragement and rebuke. That's called love. And as God uses the Word to change me, He uses the Body to keep me accountable for that change and I get to the play that same role in the lives of my brothers and sisters. It's a great idea...it's God's idea!
Anyway, all of that leads up to this....I've been studying Philippians. SO much there! Peace coming through prayer which is the practice of God's presence...Paul's radically redefined value system which places highest priority on knowing Christ...living is Christ and dying is actually gain so we have a lot to look forward to....and the idea that "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" which is not so much a mantra to be thrown at children afraid of the deep end of the swimming pool as much as it is a confident statement that living in Christ equips me to bear any weight, burden, pressure, need, or circumstance because He is sufficient...wow...so much I want to wrap myself in and be changed by for the glory of God! But the biggest and most recent slam of conviction has come from chapter 3 verse 12. Paul has just listed his earthly accomplishments and called them "rubbish." He sets the entire sum of his earthly identity next to knowing Christ and says, "There is no comparison!" He talks about wanting to share in Christ's suffering (!) becoming like Him in His death (!!) all for the sake of knowing Him...because knowing Him is the equivalent of eternal life! And just as I start to get discouraged that I can't have that mindset perfectly....or I'm about to get swept away with the excitement of it instead of honestly assessing if I do indeed have that mindset, Paul threw me a lifeline with verse 12.
"Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own."
And here's where it comes down to hard Truth for me. I'm owned. I have a Master. It's no longer just me doing my own thing...for which I'm extremely thankful because as it turns out, doing my own thing led to Hell. Instead I'm a slave of grace. I've been claimed by a Savior. There is security in that. And responsibility to respond to that ownership. Paul revels in this value! Owned by Christ who is SO worthy of ALL my life....I must press on to make Him mine too. He already owns all of me, so I in turn try to own all of Him. I think it's changing my prayers. Instead of praying, "Jesus have all of me!" I want to recognize that He already has all of me...the problem is me failing to own Him. I need to recognize more and more that "to live is Christ." I'm already claimed. Am I claiming Him?