Once a Slave, Twice Set Free

Over the past 5 years, I have touted Eusebeia as “a spiritual revival for Christian marriage”. However, it has only been since 2019 that we have truly begun to understand where the Holy Spirit is directing this “revival”. We now understand more clearly that this revival is a deeply personal and counter-cultural spiritual journey towards what famed theologian and priest Henri Nouwen dubbed “downward mobility”. Honestly, when I was reading Nouwen’s admonition about “downward mobility I wept because I know in my heart how very far I personally am from such a posture of humility.

Downward mobility is a commitment to surrender one’s own flesh in deference to the work that Christ is doing. It is obedience to Christ’s command to “Follow me”. We simply cannot follow Christ on our own terms and with our own agenda. Following Christ always demands a willingness to surrender. That doesn’t mean that Christ won’t satisfy our wants. Rather, it means that we remain equally content whether he does or doesn’t because we truly believe that the path God has for us is best for us regardless of how it feels to our flesh right now.

Every year, I seek the Lord’s face in unveiling what our theme for Eusebeia will be. Each year, I enter this season of meditation with no idea of what the Lord will reveal. In this period of contemplation, the Holy Spirit led me to Philippians 2:13 (NLT), “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”

I’m excited and expectant in announcing the Eusebeia 2022 theme as “Desire”. Desire is motivation. Desire reflects the focus of our thoughts and our emotions. While I don’t know right now where God is going with this, I believe it is connected to the humility and service connoted in “Downward mobility”. How will God cultivate desire in your marriage in 2022? The answer is surrender. Surrender is the moment-by-moment act of choosing things of the Spirit over things of the flesh.

Prior to acceptance of Christ as our Savior, we were all what the Apostle Paul calls “slaves to sin”. As Christ followers, we have the choice to be unshackled from sin’s barnacles. Christ’s work has set us free as individuals. But, we still have to walk in that spiritual freedom as a couple. The sad truth is that most Christian marriages have not discovered that freedom because their desires are not rooted in what pleases the Lord. We don’t want downward mobility. But, that is exactly what we need as husbands and wives to truly experience the freedom and liberty and power that God promises.

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