Slavery? Abounding today?

What I hear about it burns shock waves through my bloodstream.

Every day a blank slate for the slave-owner's orders?

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…


Bond slave.

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.

His Lord.

And Master.

And owner.

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.

“Hey, slave!”

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)


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19 thoughts on “This (Good?) Slavery

  1. Hi Sylvia 🙂 I’m not American, but I don’t like the word “slave” either. And having a boss… I’d definitely resist that. But you got me thinking when you mentioned about Christ who became a “slave” of all mankind. And it hit me. Christ’s humility is most admirable, so worth-emulating… something that I should practice myself.

    Thank you so much for this post because it made me realize something today.

    Visiting from Winsome Wednesday! Take care and God bless! 🙂

    1. Hi Irene,
      That’s what I like about these blogging communities: so often they make me realize something I was missing or forgetting. So glad you came over for a visit! Blessings!

  2. You’ve posted some good thoughts, Sylvia. I have wondered why James didn’t say, I’m the half-brother of Jesus, listen to what I have to say …

    As an American, I don’t like the word slave … Someone once told me that he was a “love-slave” of Christ. He gave himself as a slave to the one who loved him enough to give His life.

  3. Hi Sylvia. I did a study in James last year which left me realizing firstly what a great book it is and secondly, what a practical book it is and thirdly, I have a long long way to go. Great post and I pray your walk through James is rewarding in ways you could never imagine.
    God bless
    ps: Thanks for linking up again, I love seeing you there 🙂

    1. Hi Tracy,
      James can do that to us! (And if it doesn’t, we are probably not paying attention!) I know I’ll find it rich to revisit in depth. It’s a good book to take in small segments and really digest — and pray and work to apply!
      I’m so glad you’ve offered your link-up. I’m finding it sweet and rewarding to link there. (Plan to be back!)

  4. I’ve always wondered why James didn’t identify himself as the half-brother of Jesus.

    I once heard this, “I am a love-slave to the one who gave His life for me in love.” That kind of puts a new perspective on things for me.

    Sylvia, great article, and great food for thought!

    1. Yes, Jerralea, grateful love-slave, that’s it! I wonder if the person who said that was thinking at all about how in the OT Law, a person could indenture himself for 6 years to pay off debt, then go free the 7th year — but if he found he loved his master, he could decide to stay on in his service for life. That’s a pretty good picture of our service “slavery” to Christ.

      Thanks for visiting and commenting — and I’d like to comment here on your last post, because I can’t on your site: I really enjoyed it! When I reached your realization that you were at “command central,” I had to laugh, and then some more at the queen stuff. But this is very true. God gives us “dominion” over much — and that means responsibility.. and that’s sobering. So, it was fun and serious at the same time! Good post!

  5. This is so good! Slavery really is something we resist, yet when we really know Him, we can begin to get hints of how wondrous a thing it actually is. One of my favorite songs, “Compelled” by Sara Groves, says in part, “What a relief it is to know/That I’m a slave to Christ./Of all the masters I have known,/I’m compelled to live this life,/Free for You.” I love the picture the whole song paints – how we are slaves, but that’s a good thing, and it brings such hope! Anyway, thanks again for this beautiful post today! And keep counting!
    God bless!

  6. Mary,
    I love those lyrics. How they fit with this post! Yes, it is a beautiful slavery that sets us free from all else that would seek to master us! Thanks for sharing this.
    And yes, I’m keeping on counting! In fact, I’ve nearly reached 400 already! I’m just copying ten or fifteen at a time from my journal to my blog. Linking up!

    1. Thanks, “Shortybear.” He is the wonder behind all things wonderful, isn’t He? So happy to “see” you again. God bless your day today!

    1. Yes, Ms. Kathleen, it’s all those other things He is that makes it easier, and so blessed, to accept Him as our Master, our EVERYTHING! Thank you for stopping to comment. God bless!

  7. I have to check out the word doulos. We in peri-natal care have a word doula for someone who stays with the woman during pregnancy and childbirth and new mothering as a help. I’d be interested to see if it has the same origin!

    I also love the bunches of Scripture references at the end. Your praises to Him using Scripture thrill my heart.


  8. Hi Dawn,
    I wouldn’t be surprised to find that “doula” and “doulos” do have the same origin, there’s such Christlike service in that work, done rightly. I’m thinking how He, the Great Servant, in the form of the Paraclete/Holy Spirit, comes alongside us and helps us in similar way through many an experience. Thank you for another insight from nursing. Really, you could put together a book! (I’m serious.)
    Also, glad those Scriptures lift your heart. They do that for me, too. Blessings to you!

  9. You’re right. It is a beautiful bondage. Someone told me recently that we can judge how off our attitudes are by this: when someone treats us as a servant to we resent it or embrace it. Thanks for this great post! Blessings!

    1. Hi Renee,
      Glad you stopped to visit! I’ve heard that, too, about when someone treats us as a servant, and I have mixed thoughts about it. It is God that I belong to; He created me, and paid a terrible price to purchase me back from my lost condition, so He owns every right to direct my every move. And He does tell me to serve others with a servant attitude. But that other person who’s treating me (or anyone) in a demeaning way (as I take the quote to mean) is supposed to have a servant attitude, too — and if it’s a Christian friend or family member (especially a child or grandchild of mine!!) they might need a little of someone speaking the truth to them in love… 😉 And clearly there are times when we need to obey God rather than man… So that’s a bit of a mixed bag for me.
      Thanks for commenting and stirring up my brain some more! God bless!

    1. Hi Joe,
      Now there’s a definite answer! Yes, after I published this post I was thinking how if we aren’t slaves of Christ, we’re slaves of something else, because that’s just our (fallen) human nature. So the only thing that can make us free from all those other things that would bind us is “slavery” to Him!

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