While channel surfing over the weekend, I came across an old movie entitled, “The First Wives Club.” I’ve watched it previously, and one of my favorite portions of the film is when the characters are united in singing, “You Don’t Own Me,” by Lesley Gore. As I reflected about the significance of Resurrection Day, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude to Christ. Of course, we should, but understandably, the celebration of the Resurrection reminds us that Christ’s sacrifice was for our advantage, and as such, we are liberated, and we can unequivocally tell the enemy that no matter what he attempts, in the words of Lesley, “You don’t own me!”
Lesley emphasizes, “Don’t tell me what to say!” Now to be sure, she was singing radical words to someone who was posturing control, you know, like the enemy of our soul. We must be careful that our words are guided alternatively by the Most High. When we are confronted with difficult situations, it is critical that we embody Ephesians 4:29, which emphasizes, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Corrupting talk isn’t necessarily directed toward another human being, but in fact, may be directed toward ourself. What are we speaking over our effort, our attempt, our dreams? As affirmed in Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life is in the power of the tongue!” We can kill something or give it life -it’s totally up to us. Christ demonstrates the posture that we are to assume when confronted with trial. He didn’t remain in the grave, but instead resurrected from the situation – and so must we.
Lesley went further in that her next line stated, “Don’t tell me what to do!” Sometimes our speech slips past us, and we find ourselves assuming action. Yet, we must be deliberate to seek the direction that the Holy Spirit intends and not enacting the intent of the enemy. James 4:17 beckons, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” This simply means that we must be careful in what we do, and tell the enemy no, as he extends support in doing that which is not of God! We cannot stand upon, “Wherever the souls of our feet shall tread, it has been given to us” (Joshua 1:3), when we emphatically know that our treading it is not ordained by God. We must be diligent to battle the thoughts that enter our minds and provoke us to take action that is not fruitful for the Kingdom. Specifically, as instructed in 1 Peter 1:13, “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” We can learn to be sober-minded or balanced in our thinking as we seek a solid relationship with Christ and remain rooted in the Word of God.
Lesley continues to bellow other lyrics, but perhaps the most memorable for me is when she sings, “I’m Free!” That may sound cliche but that is perhaps what is most disturbing to the enemy. Christ’s sacrifice liberated us from the bondage of sin and made us free. We are no longer slaves, but instead we are a child of God, as well as an heir (Galatians 4:7). We do not serve at the pleasure of the enemy and nothing that happens to us has not been vetted by God. Whenever the enemy attempts to speak ill of me, through my mind, or urge me to go places that God has not invoked, I must be compelled to holler back at him through a “You Don’t Own Me!” Even though he pretends that he’s forgotten that, trust me, he hasn’t, and that is why he grinds so hard to get us off track like a record that skips. As we celebrate the Risen Savior, we were indeed bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20), and honoring God with our bodies includes our speech and our actions. Being owned by him comes with benefits, as well as a responsibility to not share our loyalties with satan. Even though God gives us free will, it is best for us to assume a position of being owned by him, and so, let us govern ourselves accordingly.