Romans 1:1—Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle and singled out for God’s good news.
Doesn’t seem very flattering to be called a slave does it? I don’t want to be a slave to anyone. I want to be free—to do whatever I feel like doing, whenever, however. I want the right to control my life. I want the ability to choose my circumstances, pick my fun, decide when to work, and nobody should be able to make me violate my own will. Do you see the trend? “I want . . .” And just how well does my plan work?
Life isn’t free is it? You may have great plans for a career and find out no one is hiring. You may see a successful man you want to marry but he falls in love with someone else. You may plan to drive to see friends and get smashed by a drunk driver. You may be a superb athlete but aging robs your skills. You may get treated rudely without deserving it; get sick when you should be healthy; and, find that even your own thoughts cannot be corralled by a nature that is inherently selfish. Do you see reality? None of us have the liberty we crave.
The Apostle Paul decided and stuck with it until the day he was killed. He decided to live in obedience to the will of Christ Jesus. He made himself a slave to God’s Son. To do this he had to give up his successful career as a well know religious leader. He had to admit his zeal was completely wrong. He had to go from a position of power to a position of humiliation. Virtually all his former friends hated him and some went to the extreme of plotting his assassination.
Paul knew that it was better to be a slave to Jesus and live under His authority than to be a slave to religious leaders and die for a hopeless cause. He knew trying to control himself was a non-ending exercise in frustration (Rom. 7:15,19). He knew what it was like to be sold into sin’s power (7:14). In essence, Paul recognized that everyone is a slave to something or someone and so he chose bondage to Christ.
Life can be free! This is the great paradox. When we choose to be slaves to Jesus we find freedom. He rescues us from slavery to sin and pays our corrupt debt. He gives us an eternal inheritance and frees us from death. He gives us the knowledge that though we may suffer on earth, by obeying Him we can look forward to pain-free bodies and total liberation when God brings heaven. He rewards us.
The result of slavery to anything besides Jesus is ultimately meaningless. How sad that people chase religion, pleasure, power, recognition or possessions only to find out that what they thought would make them happy or give them freedom left a great void. I prefer this sentence. Dan, a slave of Christ Jesus, called as a saint and singled out for God’s good news. How about you, will you submit your name and obey the Lord of All?
Is my aim to glorify God or to exercise my freedom?—Jerry Bridges in The Joy of Fearing God
©2012 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)