Carl R. Trueman’s reflections on First Things for December 26, 2016, in which he uses the term, An Empire of Desire, has deeply resonated with me and challenged me. I have for long thought that we are slaves to pleasure, on a quest not only to consume all that we can, but to avoid pain, suffering, and inconvenience at the expense of righteousness and truth – and for the Christian and the church, at the expense of obedience to Jesus Christ and the Gospel mission. I have become increasingly convinced that the North American church lives in its own ghetto of virtual reality in which the things it talks about, sings about, and teaches about revolve around its fragmented church world which is no threat to the Empire of Desire because, heaven forbid, that we should actually challenge anyone with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and lives of obedience to Him.
Are we living in the Empire of Desire as aliens and pilgrims – or are we its subjects? Are we passing through this culture of lies and deception and spin as sons and daughters of the True and Living God, repudiating the culture’s thinking and worship and toxicity – or are we its slaves? Are we prisoners of hedonism, or are we prisoners of Jesus Christ?