Who Am I? I Am a Servant of Christ
For you are free, yet you are God's slaves...
1 Peter 2:16
I started my journal every morning for the past week with "Good morning, Lord! I am a servant of Christ." I then proceeded to dig into what being His servant means. I had questions such as, "How can I be Christ's servant if I am free in Christ?" "Isn't being a servant the same as being a slave?" "What do I do as Christ's servant?" This post will seek to answer those questions.
I AM FREE IN CHRIST
My first thought of freedom is I can do what I want. I am free to worship God in this country, and I can choose to vote or not vote. I am free to eat sugar all day long, and if I want to, I can stay up all night binge- watching Netflix (two things I have never done, but still free to do if I choose). Each choice I make will have a consequence...either good or bad. If I decide to speed when I'm driving, I risk getting a ticket if I am pulled over by a cop. If I choose to start my morning with the Lord, I have the opportunity to get His perspective on my day and remind myself who is in control. I am the one who chooses what I will do. I am free.
I AM A SLAVE TO CHRIST
On the other hand, the Bible teaches us we are also slaves...either to sin if you are an unbeliever or to righteous living if you are in Christ. As believers, Jesus bought us with a price (1 Cor 6:20). Christ purchased us with His blood (Acts 20:28). We belong to Him. In other words, He owns us. If the thought of being a slave dredges up negative feelings of America's history of slavery, please understand three things:
In Christianity, being a slave of Christ is a title of honor--just as being a slave in Caesar's household was an honor. John Murray had this to say: "When the Master is the omnipotent Lord of the universe, the slavery is a consummate privilege and a passionate delight, as well as being infinitely worthwhile." Whether you want to think of yourself as a servant or slave to Christ, consider it a good thing!
Jesus is not a harsh taskmaster--He says His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matt 11:30). He is loving and merciful. He laid down His life for us. Our sins are paid for, so we are not under condemnation ever again (Rom 8:1). Even though we are called to live holy lives, separate from the world's way of living, it is not hard when we rely on the power of the Holy Spirit, which lives inside us. John Piper writes, "Christ owns us, and we are His. He is our absolute commander and protector. If He calls us to submit to any law or any institution, we do it. Not because the institution is absolute. And not because law-keeping makes us right with God. We do it because we believe Christ knows the way of love better than we do."
We chose to become His slave of our own free will--we were not sold into slavery, we accepted God's free gift of salvation. At that moment, a legal transaction took place in heaven, and we were declared righteous by Almighty God. He adopted us into His family and gave us a new heart and a new Spirit to live inside us. And He set us apart for holy living. It is a mistake to focus solely on what God has done for us and given us and not come to terms with what it means for how we are to live. He knows we can't do it without Him, but He also knows He has given us everything we need to live a holy life (2 Pet 1:3).
I AM CALLED AND SET APART
Paul says in Romans 1:1 that he is a slave to Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God. Paul knew his calling. Often we hear Christians in full-time ministry saying they were called to preach or be a missionary. But we seldom hear someone say, "God called me to be a carpenter or a nurse." Calling is not limited to ministry. God does call people to be in all kinds of professions. He needs Christians everywhere. So whatever you do, whether it be a stay-at-home mom or a CEO of a corporation, God has placed you there for His purposes. You are working for His Son, Jesus.
Doing your work for the Lord will always mean doing your job with excellence and being honest and kind to others, all things the Bible teaches. But it will also mean having discernment and wisdom to recognize an opportunity God is giving you to minister and love others. What that looks like will differ from person to person. If we want to know how to serve the Lord in our calling, we must get into the Word and stay connected with our Lord. Then we will more easily recognize the opportunities that He is giving us. A pastor knows He is set-apart to preach the Word of God, but He will also need to be open to what the Holy Spirit shows Him on a daily basis, just as the person who is flipping burgers at the local fast-food joint does.
I work as a morning stocker at a hardware store. I put freight on shelves, but I do so much more because I am working for the Lord. I wish I could tell you that I always know what God is doing, but I know I am more aware than I used to be. My first year was tough. I was shy, and a group of ladies didn't seem to like me. All I can tell you is I was convinced that God didn't want me to quit, that He had a purpose for me being there. I'm so glad I listened. Mostly I think God has worked in me more than through me, but everything I have learned has been valuable. From being friendly and helpful to the customers to being genuinely interested in my co-workers. God has called me to be a morning stocker and set me apart to invest in the lives of the people I see while I'm at work. Whether it be a smile and a friendly "hello, can I help you with something?" or an opportunity to talk about my Lord with a co-worker.
In 1 Corinthians 7:22, Paul says, "And remember, if you were a slave when the Lord called you, you are now free in the Lord. And if you were free when the Lord called you, you are now a slave in Christ."
John Piper: The Freest People Are Servants of All
Jerry Bridges: Who Am I? Identity in Christ