Justifiable Slavery

hands-in-chainsThere is a word that we need to become extremely familiar with if we are a follower of Jesus Christ: Service.  The Hebrew term, ‘ebed’ (servant or slave) is mentioned 714 times throughout the Old Testament.  It’s Greek counterpart, ‘doulos’ (bondservant or slave) appears 127 times in the New Testament.  This has to be one of my favorite concepts when it’s clearly defined as advancing the cause of Christ among men.  We also see one other use in the Greek, ‘diakonos’ (servant), mentioned roughly 30 times.  What an amazing concept to consider, especially for those of us that live in free societies.  What do we do with this paradox of being a servant or slave, and yet have been given all the freedom in the world in which to live our life?

I read the following recently that helped me understand my ultimate goal in being a servant to my King.

“…Isaiah presents the ideal servant on the stage of world history (Isa. 42:1-6; 49:5-7; 52:13-53:11).  This servant was to be anointed of the Lord.  The work of this servant was unique, performed by the One who was given the Holy Spirit to guide him.  This servant was to be a covenant to Israel, a light to the nations, a person who would bring Jacob back and, above all, to bring salvation to the whole earth (Isa. 49:6).  He would serve as a martyr and a sacrifice.  He would sprinkle many and make them clean; He would heal others by His stripes.  He would, in fact, serve others to the point of death.  After bearing the sins of many, the Lord would exalt him greatly (Isa. 53:12).” (Carpenter and Comfort, 167).

If my Savior, the King of Kings, God Almighty Himself came to serve, what then am I to do?  The answer is simple.  Take every opportunity to take the light off of myself, put one foot in front of the other, and serve.  There is no other way around it.  I read on Twitter the other day that “Christianity isn’t primarily about what we do for God, but about what God has done for us.”  I don’t necessarily disagree with this statement.  Jesus paid the ultimate price for us because God determined from the onset that we were worth dying for.  I would rather declare that once we commit our lives to Christ, and are truly His disciples, then we are to work for Him like there’s no tomorrow!  Our life needs to be a testament to what He’s done for us, by what we do for Him.  Jesus Himself clearly stated in John 8:31-32 that, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  The question is: Free from what?  Free to do what?  Free from sin, absolutely.  Yet we can not overlook the fact that Christianity is not just a feel good, get out of jail free card.  As a Christian, you can not just sit back, look at a nice painting of Jesus on the cross, and declare your love for Him.  It is SO much more than that.

So what does a servant/slave of Jesus Christ look like?

Paul lays out a great picture for us in Philippians 1:18-30.  We are to LIVE for Christ, and this means we are to labor for Him (vs 22).  He carries on by encouraging his readers to be of ‘one spirit’ and ‘one mind’ striving for the gospel.  He finishes the chapter using words such as salvation, suffer, engage, and conflict.  When I hear terminology like that, I don’t think of a kick back, feet up on the table attitude.  This is a picture of work and war.  We are called to labor, strive, and war for the sake of the gospel.  Reginald O. White said it this way,

To be alive at all ‘means fruitful labor’ — the slave exists only to work!  So represented, consecration is complete moral submission to Christ’s absolute claim and ownership.

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, we have the honor of being called servants of the Most High God!  I say again, He saw that we were worth dying for.  It should make your life’s purpose very clear.  He is worth living for!  We are exclusively owned, and are to be completely submitted, singularly devoted, totally dependent, and personally accountable to Him and Him alone!

Everyone is going to find ways to serve.  The list is everlasting as to ways you can strive for the Lord.  Here are a few for you to think about as you go through your daily tasks:

Identify and exercise spiritual gifts for the benefits of others.

Serve people lovingly and treat them with kindness, honesty, and respect as unto Christ.

Help others sacrificially regardless of the treatment given in return.

Lead by serving: set the example, communicate confidence, maintain freedom, confront with Scripture.

Sense the felt needs and spiritual needs of others and meet them willingly and unselfishly.

Lead others to faith in Jesus Christ for salvation and discipline them in God’s Word for Christian growth.

The Servant-Son makes us slaves and sons…[A]nd if you will trust yourselves to Him, and give your hearts to Him, and ask Him to govern you, He will govern you; and if you will abandon your false liberty which is servitude, and take the sober freedom which is obedience, then He will bring you to share in His [blessings] of joyful service; and even we may be able to say, ‘My meat and my drink is to do the will of Him that sent me,’ and truly saying that, we shall have the key to all delights. ~ Alexander Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture

What a gift!  What freedom!  Yet, what amazing responsibility we have to commit our lives to Him in everything that we do. Romans 12:1 declares, “…present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship [rational service].”  If you KNOW Him, BELIEVE in Him, and LOVE Him, then you should be willing to unashamedly and unselfishly SERVE Him!

Rak Chazak, and may the Lord bless you!

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