Choose Your Master

8-26-19 Nature of sin
“You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” Genesis 4:7 (NLT)
 
Like it or not, we all have a master. We’re gonna serve somebody. But Ii would rather choose to serve God rather than being enslaved to serve sin.
 
When I was first saved as a young college student, I just wanted a simple verse to hold onto, a “magic bullet”, if you will, that would help me to be faithful to God in my walk with Him. Basically, I wanted instructions that I could understand and thought it was as simple as obeying those instructions or commands. 😁
 
Oh, if it were only that easy. But if there ever was a magic bullet, this verse above from Genesis ranks pretty high as one of them. And this verse reveals the reality of a mighty spiritual battle going on around us all the time, whether we know it or not, ready or not.
 
Sin wants to master us. That’s simple to understand.
But we must master it. Simple to understand, but not so simple to carry out. 😳 And we were not meant to try and carry it out in our own strength as a good work.
 
This verse was spoken to Cain before he murdered his own brother. God knew his heart and made a way out. But Cain’s hardened jealous heart was bent on killing the competition rather than examining his own heart.
 
Cain had the “magic bullet” verse spoken to him before he sinned. But he still chose sin. The verse “didn’t work”. Why?
 
🔘 Sin mastered him.
🔘 His mindset mastered him.
🔘 His flesh mastered him.
 
Cain chose to listen to the thoughts convincing his mind rather than to God. Emotions fueled his mindset rather than the words from His loving God. And his own evil desires won out. He was walking in the flesh instead of the Spirit.
 
Before we judge Cain hardcore, we are not so unlike him.
 
Ever been jealous of another?
Ever spoken a harsh word (even in your mind) and judged another?
Ever wanted what someone else had?
 
Coveting. Jealousy. Hatred.
 
Such ugly words, and yet they can form in our own hearts and minds if we are not so aligned with the word of God that we don’t recognize them and deal with them.
 
Sin is not always so obvious. It deceives us and we are convinced that our feelings are legitimate.
 
Our feelings are innate, within. We believe them and our thoughts so often without questioning them. Sometimes we accept them and let them in at the door of our minds without doing the litmus test—is this from God?
 
But it is not just the removal of negativity that needs to happen. When we replace those thoughts with truth, we are able to overcome evil with good.
 
Jealousy can turn into rooting for the other person and praying for them.
 
Coveting can turn into gratitude for our own portion.
 
Hatred can turn into love when we see that person as God’s child and have compassion for them.
 
Through Christ, we can do all things.
 
Cain’s momentary decision affected his whole life.
 
And so it is with us. We have a choice each day—life or death (Joshua 24:14-15), even if we feel that we do not.
 
But if we are aware of sin’s trickery, we can arm ourselves with God’s word to master sin, instead of it mastering us. ❤

Slaves to Righteousness

The Thankful Slave

Philippians 1:1

“From Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus, to all saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the overseers and deacons.”

Philippians 2:5-8

“You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had, 6 Who though He existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature.  8 He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross!”

I had the privilege of attending a revival last week in which the guest pastor spoke about our position in Christ being that of a slave.  As I have been contemplating his message, today I read the verses above – confirmation to go deeper on this subject to try and understand what it means to be a slave of Christ.

Slavery is viewed in modern society as a cultural sin, unfair and evil.  For the purposes of this world, it has indeed been an evil that has existed in many cultures for the benefit of the rich and the economy, where man is devalued because he is esteemed by sinful man as less.  In God’s sight, each soul is so precious, whether slave or free – and while He created us to be free, we are indeed simultaneously all slaves.  It is, in fact, in our slavery to God that we find our greatest freedom.  For the slavery in this world is founded on wickedness and a lust for power, where the slavery in Christ is founded upon righteousness, humility and selflessness.

We are all slaves to what we give permission to rule over us, slaves to habits, slaves to cravings, and ultimately all slaves of God.  I can feel the cringing when I type that word.  Slaves.  Slaves.  Slaves.  That is what you are.  It is uncomfortable and smacks in the face of political correctness.  Our Savior, holding a lamb, calls us friend – not slaves, right?  Yes, but He has also made us joint heirs – us – the lowest of the earth – recipients of an eternal bliss we did not deserve.  Not typically how a slave-master would treat his slaves.  But every knee will bow – in heaven and on earth and in hell below.  We bow because He is the only Worthy One, the owner of us all and of all we see.  He is indeed our Master, whether or not that reality is recognized by the creation.

Paul over and over again reiterates in the epistles his slavitude in Christ.  He does so in a rather boastful manner.  He is not ashamed of being a slave for the Gospel, but fully submits himself to that role.  A slave understands that he has a Master.  He comprehends that He is not the one in charge, but the one who must give an account.  This is at once humbling and the highest privilege one could conceive of.  Imagine being a servant in the White House – how much more a servant in the Kingdom of God.  A servant in God’s Kingdom is entrusted with the most precious gift of all – the Gospel.  Are we serving our Master well in this regard?

A godly servant does not question the Master or become angry and throw a fit when he does not get his way – he understands his position and his greatest pleasure is serving the King. He does not question whether or not he should tithe – he understands it all belongs to God and he is obedient.  This servant recognizes he was bought and does not deserve any kindness due to his transgression.  He is under authority – ooh – another difficult, not politically correct word.  In an age where children are rebellious to the authority of their parents and disregard the structure that God has set in place, being a servant under authority is indeed not popular today.  Nonetheless, we are slaves under authority.

Most humbling of all to me, is that my King, my LORD, chose to become a slave.  Think about that.  When has a King chosen such a role?  When He is righteous and knows that none of His slaves could ever pay what they owe their Master, He chose to serve.  What an amazing God!  May we joyously walk in our slavitude and the wonder that He grafts us in and calls us His children, too.  In that glorious day, all slavery will be abolished – slavery to sin, slavery to man, slavery to the flesh – no more sin, no more brokenness – nothing to keep us from Him any longer.  Glorious day, when our souls are finally set free.

Lord, forgive our pride and motivations that desire to be served rather than to serve.  Thank you for demonstrating real servanthood, even though You are above all.  Help us to glorify You by modeling to the world a holy, reverent walk with You.  Amen.