Slavery? Abounding today?
What I hear about it burns shock waves through my bloodstream.
Any human’s ownership over another holds such potential for evil. The bullying anyone can slide into, given unchecked power over others, stuns me. History shows slavery almost never lacks abuse. Even indentured servitude that early immigrants accepted to live here was fraught with injustice, and heartlessness that tore families apart, sometimes never to see each other again.
But there is this beautiful bondage, this splendid slavery:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, [which is] your reasonable service (Ro 12:1).
The man begins a letter. His name is James. Not just any James. Brother of our Lord (most scholars think).
He’s writing to new believers in Christ —with authority, as leader in the fledgling Church.
He begins with introduction, giving his credentials —
Title most odd.
No mention of family relationship to Jesus, or high position of oversight, none of a lot of exalting stuff he could boast about. Instead he identifies himself as…
Meaning a bound slave. Not temporary. Bound forever.
Once, with family members, he tried to pry his brother from what seemed mad obsession, didn’t believe in him (John 7:3-5). Now he’s sold out to who this same Jesus turns out to be: Christ, long-awaited Messiah, resurrected Lord.
Jesus once said it, just before He walked to his dreadful death: To be great in God’s Kingdom, you must be a slave, serving all!
Slave is really the blunt, truthful word. (Greek doulos.)
And it stings! When applied to ourselves, anyway.
How would you like anyone yelling that at you? It doesn’t appeal to me too much!
Most of us have trouble just allowing anyone to be our boss — even God! A young woman I know, who deems herself a Christian, once asked me, in demanding tone, “If Jesus is my Savior, why does He have to be my boss?”
I asked why she wouldn’t want someone like Him to be her boss. Further discussion revealed part of her problem lay with memories of a bad dad, who gave bad commands. But if I’m honest, I don’t too much want to be entirely under any boss either, let alone slave-owner.
But (gulp) that’s what I need to be! (To Christ.) This is my real Spiritual Practice of Sacrifice!
We Americans may struggle harder with this than anyone else. After all, we’re “the free and the brave,” aren’t we? And aren’t our highest “virtues” Yankee ingenuity and personal achievement?
Just beginning to restudy “James” the book, with a view to living it out, here I am stuck already, halfway through verse one!
How shall I overcome my reluctance — nay, resistance! — to this personal slavery?
I think it best to take a long, hard look at the One Who’s supposed to be my Master: Christ Himself.
Scripture says He relinquished His position in the form of God, and became… a slave — willingly obedient even to horrific death on that cross! (Phil 2:5-8)
“For the joy set before Him.”
Incredibly, I’m part of that joy for which He endured such unspeakable torture and anguish — in humble, slave-like obedience.
In these days before Easter, I want to look more intently into Christ’s noble slavery during His final week of mortal life.
Join me? Meanwhile, how do you feel about slavery — for yourself?
More Him-Centered Reasons to Worship (and Willingly Serve) Him
62 – All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Him (Col 2:3)
63 – Because He’s good! (Ps 106:1)
64 – His unfailing love/lovingkindness/mercy endures forever (Ps 106:1)
65 – His mighty acts are beyond our ability to utter (Ps 106::2)
66 – His judgments are in all the earth (Ps 105:7)
67 – He is a faithful, covenant-keeping God (Ps 105:8)
68 – He remembers His promises for a thousand generations (Ps 105:8)
69 – He knows (acknowledges and is awared of) the way of the righteous (Ps 1:6)
70 – He will hold in derision those who hold Him in contempt (Ps 2:4)
71 – But He blesses those who put their trust in Him (Ps 2:12)
72 – He is a personal shield (Ps 3:3)
73 – He hears His people when they cry to Him (Ps 3:4;4:3)
74 – He is our glory (Ps 3:3)
75 – He is the One Who lifts up our heads (Ps 3:3)
76 – He is the God of our righteousness (Ps 4:1)
77 – He alone makes one dwell in safety (Ps 4:8)
78 – He has set apart/made wonderful for Himself those who are godly (Ps 4:3)