Where the Spirit of the Lord is…
There are Free Markets
The Great Commission – We all subscribe to the goal of preaching the gospel to all men and making disciples of all nations (Mark 28:19, Gen 12-2-3). We stress evangelism and missions and we see the Lord moving throughout the earth, on one hand; and wonder why we’re not personally more effective, on the other. I want to suggest that the version of the gospel we preach is even better than we realize; we’re not yet preaching the whole thing.
Personal Freedom – One of the trademarks of knowing Jesus is freedom. When we get saved we can feel the weight of sin come off our lives. Guilt, oppression, and condemnation no longer strangle our identity in Christ. Christianity isn’t about the legalism of religion. It’s all about liberty and freedom.
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36 NIV
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19 NIV
But whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 2 Cor 3:16-17 NASV
Creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. Rom 8:21 NIV
I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free. Ps 119:32 NIV
In the beginning of our Christian walk, we learn to “lay down our life.” The things we thought we wanted before we got saved not longer hold any real satisfaction – we lay those things down. But, when we begin to see the Kingdom and see that we might have a role in what God is doing, we experience a breakthrough and we discover ministry. It’s fun; it’s working with the father; it’s miraculous; it changes the lives of others through their salvation and healing. What a joy!
After some level of maturity, we discover that we can find the will of God in our personal desires. After we learn to lay down our life, we learn to pick it up again!
The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life — only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. John 10:17-18 NIV
Taking up our life in Christ means that we put our mind and will in gear and set our heart on doing the things that He designed us to do. There was a time when we all thought that was going into the ministry (full-time church ministry). Now we realize 98% of us are really called to the marketplace… which is really even more fun (I’ve done both!). We take all the same gifts and anointing we learned in church and apply them in one of the other mountains where our real calling resides. Why? Marketplace ministry is how we “make disciples of all men” and “bless the nations.”
At the macro level – We just described freedom in a personal sense. Now, let’s switch to the macro level and talk about the great commission. There are many historic examples of the connection between personal freedom, free markets, revival and cultural change. The Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution are Bible-based attempts to facilitate personal freedom through democracy in the political mountain. That freedom ushered in the industrial revolution and greatly enhanced freedom on several levels in the 1800’s… spiritual revivals, personal opportunities for freedom, reduction of poverty, and cultural improvement were the result. Spiritual freedom and free markets worked together to build the Kingdom. The church played her role in equipping the saints, and Kings in the marketplace played their role in growing a nation into her spiritual destiny of being a light in the world.
Since World War Two, revival and free markets are changing Asia, China, India, and Africa at amazing rates. The church has played a role in places like Africa and South Korea. Free markets have played a leading role in China where missions have not been permitted to the same degree. Even in the absence of missions, the growth of Christianity in China has been amazing.
Note: I used to like to see people get water-baptized first and filled with the Spirit second. God frequently violated my order in both scripture and practice. I wanted people saved first and then healed, but the Holy Spirit doesn’t seem to play by my rules. Unsaved people were getting healed all the time. I would like to see a nice, neat missions program in China, but the Holy Spirit is changing a nation with free markets without crusades. Instead of big name ministries, the Holy Spirit is using closet-sized home groups often led by women!
Paradigm change – Can you see the connection between freedom in Christ and free markets? Why don’t we just admit that free people usually choose the liberty that comes from the Spirit of the Lord? People around the world have to be ensnared by the enemy to maintain poverty, religious or political bondage, jobs they hate, oppression of women, class systems, and pre-arranged marriages. When people look on the internet, news media, TV, Facebook, email and talk to their friends on cell phones to see the freedom we have in Jesus… they choose life! Millions in China would never think of turning away from free markets to go back to the oppression of communism. Can you see the hand of God in marketplace ministry and free markets?
While church and political leaders have been wringing their hands about materialism and greed, the nations are being blessed in the marketplace. While capitalism is cursed, the poor are finding jobs in free markets and being set free from poverty. Where one denomination would criticize the social gospel, the Lord has bypassed both systems and worked through the marketplace to build the Kingdom. None of this may fit in our box… so why don’t we just get out of the box… and into the marketplace?
Will the real gospel please stand up – We get saved through Jesus’ work on the cross; we are baptized in His name, we are filled with the Holy Spirit, and we are equipped in the church through the work of pastoral ministries… apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Then we go to church every Sunday and live happily ever after… right? Wrong!
You see the rest of the gospel is that we are each called to play a role in building the Kingdom through the marketplace. Our vocations and businesses have a ministry ingredient that operates through the desires of our heart. We’re called to a place of wealth and abundance through the value we bring to the lives of others in the marketplace. We love what we do because we’re walking in the desires of our hearts. Our joy, our anointing, our fruit, and our abundance give loud testimony to our life in Christ. Imagine 6 billion people each pursuing the desires of their heart and creating wealth by providing goods and services that other people want. That would change the world economy – very quickly. It’s not a new idea. Free market capitalism was God’s idea. All five ingredients considered essential for free markets to work originated in the 10 commandments.
- Right to life “you shall not murder” Ex 20:13
- Right to liberty “I am the Lord you God, who brough you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery” Ex 20:2
- Right to private property “You shall not steal” Ex 20:15, “covet” Ex 20:17
- Rule of law “ten commandments” Ex 34:28
- Moral foundation in citizenry “no other God’s before me” Ex 20:3-4
Give yourself permission to pursue the desire of your heart. If you find something you like to do, you’ll never work another day for the rest of your life. Jesus sets you free.
PS: I just finished The 5 Big Lies About American Business and In Defense of Global Capitalism. Good stuff!
Also recommend Compassionate Capitalism by Harold Eberle