UCAN sharing: Bondservant
Scripture: Exo. 21:1-6
13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. Rom 6:13
Man in his own wisdom often fails to see God’s truth; as a result we embrace things as truth that are not and fall short of living free. Everyday people make choices in their lives that produce harmful or painful consequences. Remember the presence of radiation (Polonium 210) in cigarette smoke as an example of man’s willingness to believe what is bad is OK in the name of freedom. In the name of freedom people will often choose what is not good for them. This reflects the foundation of man’s heart which is lustful desires that are unstable, demanding and ultimately impossible to control. Despite this reality man still considers himself capable of being free and desires to establish this freedom even though it may be sin. Yet because sin always destroys and leads to death man’s idea of freedom is not freedom at all but a form of bondage. Consider the issues that are currently most debated about. At the center of these issues you will find a group that desires to make a behavior that God calls sinful normal and acceptable. They are slaves to the fruit of that behavior and they pursue acceptance for the behavior. For the Christian this condition of man must not only be seen and understood but should lead us to draw nearer to God. In choosing to do so must decide whether we will become God’s bondservants.
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Rom. 1:21
Freedom is a powerful idea that man is easily led to seek out and protect. Think about all the revolutions that have happened and all the lives that have been lost in the various conflicts globally. This hints at something that lies deep within all of us. We are naturally driven to seek and express our own free will. Man sees this as such a necessary part of life that wars have been fought over it; people have willingly sacrificed their lives for the idea of man being able to choose his own course. From a spiritual perspective this creates a paradox, a problem without an apparent solution. Man’s freedom doesn’t liberate it binds so why man seeks freedom he receives bondage and remains a slaves to his lusts. Nothing man can do will change this so the end is that there is no freedom for man just the illusion of freedom. Consider money and the pursuit of money. Many believe that money is the way to freedom; the more money I have the more life I can have. This has never proven out. To gain money one has to devote himself to earning it. For the average person this means hard work and long hours. Where is the freedom in this? The ability to buy something? Once the item is bought is the person fulfilled? No thing or person can really satisfy what our souls seek mist. Therefore the freedom man declares is a misleading one at best. (See Ecc. 2:9-11)
Slaves are traditionally exploited for the benefit of the owner. Slaves require little and are not paid so one can use them to do and save the cost. When the Pharaoh of Egypt wanted to build he enslaved the Israelites. They remained slaves for four hundred years during which they must have longed to live for themselves instead of Pharaoh. God heard their cries and freed them with amazing acts of authority. Later they were given the opportunity to enter in to a relationship with God where He would protect and guide them and all they had to do was obey His law. They eventually forsook that agreement desiring to do their own will over God’s and they showed this by worshiping others gods. Many Christians today also give only a little attention to the covenant they have with God bought by Jesus’ blood. We prefer to pursue our own will rather than live submitted and obedient. Christians today can have idols too. Ultimately man’s freedom leads to idolatry.
Jesus’ work on the cross established a new covenant based on God not man so it is far greater. Now any one can enter in to a personal relationship with God and be cleansed of all sin. The form of the covenant has changed but the idea remains the same. Sinful man can be reunited with His God and relate to him intimately forever. All that is required of man is to believe and obey. Obedience requires devotion to God fully so that our heart is not double minded, loving the world and God. God has chosen to redeem us from the bondage of darkness and we now belong to Him (1 Cor. 6:19-20). But because God is a God of love, justice and peace he chooses to set the captives free (Isa 61:1, Jn 8:36). Our freedom is not for us to return to our old ways which lead us back to bondage but rather our freedom is so that we willingly give our lives back to Him. In this way a person can find true freedom because God frees them from themselves (2 Cor. 3:17). Every Christian must decide how far in their relationship with God they will go. To those who see and come to believe in God and his love giving one’s self to live obediently is an act of love.
15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments. Jn 14:15
Slavery in Jesus’ time was common among many nations. The Israelites also practiced slavery and made slaves of those they conquered. God never condoned slavery but rather knowing man’s heart set boundaries for it. We see that God allowed a Jew to enslave a fellow Jew but only for seven years and without financial debt afterwards. This meant any Jew forced to become a slave had hope of one day being free. In a similar way man is born in to the slavery of sin without a way to be free. God comes along and gives His Son Jesus as atonement to pay for all the sin and man is free. What happens next depends on the person’s desire to respond to the act of grace God has demonstrated. A believer is not a bondservant until they fully give all of themselves to God. We can live a Christian life where we give part of our lives to God but we suffer loss and sin is always an issue. Here God allows man’s free will to choose if they desire to devote all they are to Him. For we know that our old self was crucified with him (Christ) so that the body of sin might be done away with that we should no longer be slaves of sin-because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. (Rom. 6:6-7)
Christian lives are not about having the power to live well now on earth but rather living to know God and experience His love so that we become more like Jesus and live to please God. This is true life (Jn 17:3). Jesus always did what the Father showed him. He was totally devoted to the Father and this makes him a bondservant. Jesus never considered his own benefit but rather completely entrusted himself to the Father to do His will (See Phil 2:5-8). Why? Because Jesus knows the Father intimately and this love motivates Him. In the same way when a Christian reaches the point where they grasp the size of God’s love for them they can offer themselves up as a bondservant. Before this happened to a Jewish slave they saw that their life under their master with their wife and children was good so they willingly became the master’s servant forever. Christians today can do the same. We can bring our lives and lay them at His feet as an act of heart devotion. We will not think of ourselves but totally live to serve and please God. As a symbol of a bondservant their ear was pierced. God doesn’t ask us to do this but rather to give Him our hearts, broken and humble. 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. Phil 2:7
Not many will find this a desirable objective but they fail to see the freedom, joy and power that rest in being God’s servant. All of mankind gives themselves to someone or something; Christians can give themselves to God who in turn pours more of himself in them. Only in this way can man truly be free and live.
Perhaps you are struggling with obedience to God. Have you parts of your life you have not given to Him? Are you truly devoted to Him 100%? Take a look at your daily habits and motivations and you will see whom you serve. A bondservant willingly serves his master out of love. We too can serve the Master out of love if we set our heart intent on it. If you struggle here cry out and God will strengthen you. He sees the heart and responds with love and you can become a bondservant of God.